Steam-powered dreams: Child’s wish comes true on 1880 Train

HILL CITY, S.D. — One dream came true Tuesday for on 16-year-old Wisconsin teen, right here in the Black Hills.

Andrew Struensee, of Grant, WI, was diagnosed with a cardiac condition and has been in and out of hospitals throughout his childhood. That’s where he was introduced to Thomas the Tank Engine.

Since then, his love of trains has helped chug him along and Tuesday afternoon, Andrew got to ride on the famous 1880 Train from Keystone to Hill City all thanks to Make-A-Wish South Dakota.

“As we were trying to think of something special to do for Andrew, we knew it had to be ATV-ing or a train and fortunately it all came together in the same place so were very pleased and Make-A-Wish was wonderful to work with,” said Bobbie Struensee, Andrew’s mother. 

Andrew took a tour of the engines, met with the conductor and rode in the front car on the round trip.

The Struensees say the family hadn’t really gotten out of the house since March due to COVID-19.

“We so needed this with everything going on right now in the world and with Andrew, we truly just needed some family time to be together,” said Struensee.

In the coming days, the Struensees will explore Bear Country, Reptile Gardens and Mount Rushmore. They also took ATV rides throughout the Black Hills.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News