Departing Hill City. The first morning departure of the Black Hills Central's "1880 Train" rumbles across the little timber trestle at the entrance to the Hill City Yard as she heads east toward Keystone, some 10 rail miles distant.
The power on this train is the former Weyerhauser Timber Compound Mallet Saddle-Tanker #110 and the rolling stock consists mostly of interurban cars from various electric railways. Some of the cars have been refurbished with little modification, other than removal of the catenary equipment and traction motors. Others have been modified as open observation cars. Although steam enthusiasts seldom make the journey to the Black Hills to see this operation, it is actually a pretty popular tourist railroad, literally operating in the shadow of the Mt. Rushmore National Monument. During the three days of my visit in the summer of 2017, all of the departures were pretty packed. Of course, I suspect that the tourist traffic in the area was probably spiking that week, with many (including me) flocking to the area to view the total solar eclipse. In my case, I caught mother nature's coolest show in little Glendo, WY, and then made a leisurely drive to South Dakota later that day. This particular photo was taken the morning after the eclipse.