ALL ABOARD: 1880 Train celebrates 65 consecutive years

VIP passes were available to purchase for people wanting to photograph the two newest restorations of Locomotives #110 and #108

BhcrrHILL CITY, S.D. – Even though its birthday was Aug. 18, the 1880 in Hill City celebrated its 65th birthday Saturday with a VIP Day.

People could buy tickets to the train which had its normal runs all day, or they could get special photography tickets.

“This is an excursion for anybody else that wants to ride in regular coach class, but specifically for these photographers that want to capture our two newest locomotives,” Nathan Anderson, Business Operations Manager of the 1880 Train, said.

The VIP Photography Pass included a photo run-by of the two newest restorations of Locomotives #110 and #108, all-day access to five photo areas, free admission to the museum and a round-trip on the 1880 Train.

With the VIP pass, people could also enjoy an evening reception at the Hill City Center to watch the “Snow Train” episode of Gunsmoke. Saturday morning, they were nearly sold out of the event passes with some people coming in from other states and cities.

Anderson says that the train is the second or third longest operating steam railroad in the nation, which is something they’re proud of.Train

“We’ve been here in Hill City and Keystone operating back and forth all the way since 1957. So, you know, bringing folks in and enjoying this history of the steam locomotives,” Anderson said. “Beginning in 1990, our current ownership group, the Order Family, purchased the train and then steadily reinvested in the equipment. The cars that you’ll see on the train today are all restored. There’s ten of them that we operate currently, and it takes almost a year and a half to two years to restore a wooden train car.”

Some engines take longer. One of the station’s recent restorations took four and a half years to restore to an operating status.

Anderson says there is a lot of love and investment that goes into the history of the equipment they operate with today.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News, South Dakota News