Black Hills Central (1880 Train)

Using old Burlington Line trackage, Burlington Northern pulled out of the area around 1986.  The Black Hills Central has operated as an independent scenic line since 1956, originally with narrow gauge equipment, converting to standard gauge in the '60s.  It is a 9.5 mile, one hour ride between Fall City SD and Keystone SD. Ride either direction, or round trip.  One of the steepest standard gauge grades in the US, almost 6%, took three tries to get up it when we rode. Good scenery, clean equipment.

The remaining rail beds have been banked and converted to bike trails.  Possible future plans include reactivating some of the rail beds and extending into Custer, SD and other areas.

Federal regulations forbid Black Hills equipment to burn coal due to fire hazards, therefore all Black Hills Central steam equipment is fired with recycled oil.

Locomotive Power

#7 is a 2-6-2 with tender built by Baldwin for the Ozan-Graysonia Lumber Company in 1919.  It was then sold to the Caddo & Choctaw Railroad several years later.  Bought by the Prescott & Northwestern in Arkansas in 1938.  It was acquired by the Black Hills Central in 1962

Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-2
Length: 52 feet
Weight: 210,000 lbs
Axle load: 32,000 lbs
Driver diameter: 40 inch
Cylinder: 17 x 24 inch
Steam pressure: 200 psi
Tractive effort: 23,100 lbs
Water: 4,000 gallons
Oil: 1,000 gallons

#104 is a 2-6-2T tank engine built by Baldwin in 1926 for Silver Falls Timber Company in Oregon and The Pennsylvania Terminal Railroads in Portland.  The Black Hills Central acquired #104 and its twin #103 (built in 1922) in 1965.  #104 has been in continuous service, #103 is in storage awaiting overhaul.

Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-2T
Length: 32 feet
Weight: 134,000 lbs
Axle load: 35,000 lbs
Driver diameter: 38 inch
Cylinder: 17 x 24 inch
Steam pressure: 180 psi
Tractive effort: 22,100 lbs
Water: 1,600 gallons
Oil: 750 gallons

#110 is a 2-6-6-2T articulated Mallet built by Baldwin in 1928 for the Weyerhauser Timber Company in Vail, WA.  It then went to Rayonier Lumber Company, where a tender from Rayonier #101 was added and it then was retired in 1968.  It was displayed at the Wasatch Mountain Railway in Heber City, UT, then it was sold to the Nevada State Railway Museum.  The Black Hills Central bought the engine in 1999, restoration was completed in 2006.  It is the only 2-6-6-2T Mallet in operation in the world.

Wheel Arrangement: 2-6-6-2T
Length: 47 feet
Weight: 222,000 lbs
Axle load: 30,500 lbs
Driver diameter: 38 inch
Cylinder: 17 x 24 inch
Steam pressure: 200 psi
Tractive effort: 37,500 lbs
Water: 2,700 gallons
Oil: 1,200 gallons

#1 is a 1940 vintage Whitcomb diesel.  It was built for the Department of Defense and operated in Washington State during World War II.  It was then purchased for switching at the Black Hills Power & Light coal fired power plant near Lead, SD.  It was purchased by the Black Hills Central in 1983 and is used for switching duties.

Wheel Arrangement: B-B 0-4-4-0
Length: 44 feet
Weight: 154,000 lbs
Horsepower: 650 hp developed by two BUDA diesels
Tractive effort: 40,000 lb
Fuel: 400 gallons

#63 is 0-4-4-0 diesel, badged Progressive Rail Incorporated.  I saw it in September '06 and did not get any info on it.  As of November '07 it is not referenced on the Black Hills Central's web site.

Rolling Stock

The passenger rolling stock is mostly site built/converted equipment.  Two cars are converted from interurban electric cars built for the Oregon Electric Railway in 1913, others are converted from baggage, track crew, and drover cars.  There are a couple original passenger cars, though heavily rebuilt and modified over the years.

There is quite a collection of old equipment - tank cars, box cars, cattle cars, stainless steel streamliners, and such in the yard awaiting possible future restorations.

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