Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 1880 Steam Train, Keystone & Hill City, South Dakota




All aboard!

We took the 2-hour, 20-mile round trip this morning along the 1880 steam train from Keystone to Hill City and back. Another freebie on our VIP card (a benefit of workamping at the Mt.Rushmore Bookstores), this trip would normally cost $24 per person. 

We decided to take the first train from Keystone at 8:45 in the morning. There was a lot of seating on this trip and very few people, which was nice as it afforded a peaceful ride as we enjoyed beautiful scenery ~ Keystone Junction, Old Baldy Mountain (elev. 5605’), Elkhorn Mountain (elev. 6200’), Tungsten Mine, Harney Peak (elev. 7242’), and Tin Mine Hill (elev. 5160’).  The return trip (just 15-minutes after arriving in Hill City) was much busier with lots of children and their parents – it was a much louder journey back to Keystone.

Interesting notes:
  • We were initially disappointed that the first trip of the day is not with the famed steam engine, but rather a diesel one, as this would mean workers would have to wake at 3am to get the steam rolling.
  • This might not have been a terrible thing, since the return trip with the steam engine was much louder – not only due to the increased number of people, but the toot-toot of the whistle was louder with steam than diesel.
  • Brad remembers the 1880 Train running on coal as a child, but they abandoned coal and now use used-motor oil to create the steam as coal is a fire hazard.
  • It was very cool to see the conductor filling the train with water when we arrived in Keystone – a bit of oil was needed as well.
 
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Escapees RV Club Commercial Member #693

2 comments:

Sue said...

I've been enjoying your blog. We just moved to Hill City from Sturgis, for a few days. We like to hike as well, so its been great that you've already written about some! we'll do Harney Peak this weekend, when it cools off a little. we went to Crazy Horse today, and like you, I was disappointed. Maybe a little too much ego for the sculptors family? I don't know. We stayed for the light show, but then left before it was even half over.

Sue said...

I've been enjoying your blog. We just moved to Hill City from Sturgis, for a few days. We like to hike as well, so its been great that you've already written about some! we'll do Harney Peak this weekend, when it cools off a little. we went to Crazy Horse today, and like you, I was disappointed. Maybe a little too much ego for the sculptors family? I don't know. We stayed for the light show, but then left before it was even half over.

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