What is in a Mile? (Mile 3, that is)

Harney Peak

Harney Peak can be seen in the distance while riding on the 1880 Train.

Here’s what you can expect riding the 1880 Train to Mile Post 3:

As you come into Kennedyville and Addie Camp, the gray two-story Kennedy house that once housed the town’s grocery and bar are in the meadow west of the tracks.

Passing through Addie Camp, you can see the grade of the railroad spur that led to the Addie Mine. The Addie Mine main shaft went down 800 feet.

Later down the line, you will see a big, weathered building to the north of the tracks. This is the Good Luck Tungsten Mine, which flourished during both World Wars.

Next you will come to Palmer Gulch, which was the site of placer gold operations in 1875. If you look south, you can see Harney Peak with its stone fire lookout tower at the top. Harney Peak, at 7,242 feet, is the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the Alps.

Check back for what you can experience to Mile Post 4, or see for yourself and reserve a seat on the 1880 Train this season!

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The Focus is on Trains at This Year’s Black Hills Film Festival

cropped-black-hills-film-festival-logoThe 2015 Black Hills Film Festival will be held May 6-10 in Hill City and Rapid City with a Focus  on Trains . . . our favorite subject.  In partnership with the South Dakota State Railroad Museum (Museum) and the Black Hills Central Railroad (BHC), the Festival will feature the role of trains in the life of South Dakotans and in film.

“Trains create a fascinating story line for movies: danger, suspense and romance,” says BHC President Meg Warder. “Movies are a way of keeping the history of railroading alive today for the public. The BHC and Museum are supporting the Black Hills Film Festival to promote trains in all forms of media.”

The BHC has a long history with the movie industry. In fact, a 1970 Gunsmoke episode, a 1971Walt Disney production of Scandalous John and the 1979 CBS production of Orphan Train were filmed in cooperation with the railroad.

More recently, the 1880 Train has been a part of the following productions: South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Dakota Pathways, the Love Train Music Video with Big and Rich, a General Hospital episode, a Discovery Channel production, a History Channel production and more.  The 1880 Train was even featured in the 2005 Into the West miniseries by Steven Spielberg.

Some of the ways the Festival will feature trains include:

Jim Clark, who coordinated the train scenes featuring the 1880 Train in Into the West, will give a short history of trains in the movies and explain the technical aspects of working with trains. Clark is a veteran of over 250 films. His association with some of the biggest train films and stars in Hollywood, including The Lone Ranger; Wild, Wild, West; Under Siege Two; Fast and the Furious; Water For Elephants; and Into The West and film clips of two dozen action sequences will leave you breathless.
Saturday May 9, 3:15 pm Hill City High School Theatre, Hill City, SD. 

THE TRANSCONTINENTAL UNION PACIFIC IN TERRITORIAL TIMES  Director of the South Dakota State Railroad Museum Rick Mills will discuss the development of Dakota’s railroading since the 1860s, including the cultural changes in Dakota Territory in that time and what influences railroading today.  Historical images, as well as a selection of contemporary railroad photography, will be featured in the program. Sunday May 10, 1 pm South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City, SD

THE SHOWING OF UNION PACIFIC One of the last bills signed by President Abraham Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. Financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows’ agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau’s partner Dick Allen is Butler’s war buddy and rival suitor for the engineer’s daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost? Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea make an incredible on-screen duo as co-stars, and the train wreck is impressive.
Sunday, May 10, 1:30 pm South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City, SD

Purchase Session Tickets for these activities for $10 the day of the presentation or sessions are included at no extra charge with the purchase of any Festival Pass. Visit the website at www.blackhillsfilmfestival.org for more information. The Black Hills Film Festival showcases the newest voices in independent film, but it also provides structured classes and forums for film artists to sharpen their craft and share their skill. Classes are taught by notable film professionals and are free to participating filmmakers.

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What’s in a Mile?

routemapHere’s what you can expect riding the 1880 Train to Mile Post 2:

At the top of Tin Mill Hill you can see the grade of the Tin Mill Railroad spur that led to the west to the tin mill. (This is at your left if traveling eastbound.)

Check back for what you can experience to Mile Post 3, or see for yourself and reserve a seat on the 1880 Train this season!

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1880 Train Featured on National Tourist Trains Guidebook

Untitled-1The 1880 Train is honored to have Steam Engine #110 featured on the cover of the fifth edition of the Tourist Trains Guidebook.

This guidebook thoroughly describes more than 500 excursion trains and railroad museums throughout the United States and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go and how to get there. The remaining listings highlight smaller yet interesting train rides, museums and depots that provide family fun or a unique piece of railroad history. Sites featured also include general directions, when to go, activities worth doing, and websites to give the reader the most user-friendly resource.

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What’s in a Mile?

routemapHere’s what you can expect riding the 1880 Train to Mile Post 1:

When the 1880 Train leaves the Hill City station (formerly the original Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad depot), it goes north briefly and then turns eastward up Tin Mill Hill. It’s named that for the huge tin processing plant erected there by the Harney Peak Company in the late 1800s. The four to six percent grade puts a considerable strain upon the locomotive, and the engineer usually takes this opportunity to blow sand through the locomotive’s boiler flues to cleanse the soot from them. Check back for what you can experience to Mile Post 2, or see for yourself and reserve a seat on the 1880 Train this season!

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1880 Train Welcomes New Business Development Manager Holli Edwards

HolliEdwardsThe 1880 Train of Hill City, SD, announces that Holli Edwards has joined the organization as the Business Development Manager. She will oversee the attraction’s reservation system, High-Liner Snack Shop, Depot Gift Shops and special events.

A graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University, Edwards has served as communications director for the Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen, worked in the marketing department at Black Hills Federal Credit Union and served as marketing and business development director at Westhills Village Retirement Community in Rapid City. For the last nine years, she was the hospitality manager for Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City.

“I am excited to be in Hill City working for a forward-thinking, family-owned company,” says Edwards. “The 1880 Train is so much a part of the Black Hills community and focused on creating memorable experiences for all who ride the Train!”
Some of the memorable experiences Edwards refers to include the following 2015 special events:
• Mother’s Day Express May 10
• The 1880 Train Appreciation Weekend May 16-17
• Prairie to Peaks Iron Horse Rail Summer Camp June 9-11
• Father’s Day Ride on June 21
• Special entertainment with Cody Landstrom the Magician July 25
• An educational Steam Seminar September 5
• Wine Express September 12/19
• Oktoberfest Express September 26
• Holiday Express with Santa in November and December
• Old West Shootouts

More on the 1880 Train’s 2015 special events and the regular train schedule may be
found at www.1880train.com.

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No Rest for the Weary

1880staff6The work never stops at the Black Hills Central Railroad (BHC), according to Chief Mechanical Officer Mike Grimm.

“Having safe and dependable equipment is of the utmost importance to the BHC,” explains Grimm. “We all strive to make sure everything is in the best possible condition to start the new season.”

In fact, a full-time crew of six and one part-time employee have been providing maintenance on the railroad’s rolling stock all winter long in preparation of a full (and safe) 2015 season at the 1880 Train.

Some of the projects include:

  • Repainting diesel locomotive #63.
  • Removing the main and side rods on the #110 locomotive for inspection. This includes checking bearings for excessive clearance and an ultra sonic examination of the crank pins, axles and rods to look for cracks.
  • Removing #110 locomotive’s driving axle so that worn suspension parts could be rebuilt and springs on the rear engine could be replaced.
  • Completing boiler repairs in preparation for the annual hydro test that will be coming up in a few weeks.

As for the train cars, projects include:

  • Replacing old, obsolete drawbars and couplers with more modern “off the shelf” equipment.
  • Painting the cars.
  • Repairing the window seats.

We would like to say “we do it all,” but the BHC does hire a contractor for the heavy track maintenance.

Between the contractor and the train’s experienced maintenance team, the 1880 Train will be ready to leave the station in May.

Have you booked your trip yet on the 1880 Train?

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