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  Trip Report: A Day on the Black Hills Central - Chapter 1
  Riding the BHC
Riding the Black Hills Central on Saturday, 9-Sep-2006
  From: A Day on the Black Hills Central Dates: September 9, 2006 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
Upon my Friday evening arrival, both 104 and 7 were sitting in front of the Hill City enginehouse, apparently cold
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Photo 2
On Saturday morning, both engines were steamed up as I arrived at the depot. BHC 110, the big 2-6-6-2T that I'd hoped to ride behind, is nowhere in sight. Presumably, it's in the shed.
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Photo 3
This is the Black Hills Central's recently-acquired GP9. It's formerly Progressive Rail 63, CBRM 63, NEKM 63, Indiana & Ohio 63, and originally, C&O 6178.
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Photo 4
When 104 and 7 handle a train, they run back to back. 104 was the first out of the engine tracks Saturday morning. Here's the back of the unit, showing the oil bunker that holds its fuel.
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Photo 5
In order to get from the engine tracks over to the train, the crew has to perform a see-saw move, first going up, then back, and then forward again onto the train. The morning air is definitely cold, and the steam is really lingering as clouds around the cylinders.
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Photo 6
Number 7, a Baldwin 2-6-2, comes along second, and will lead the day's morning train up to Keystone.
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Photo 7
For a number of years, the Black Hills Central ran ex-C&S and ex-WP&YR narrow gauge equipment, necessitating a dual gauge line out from Hill City. Just out of the yard, one of the trestles still shows the plates and spikes from the third rail.
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Photo 8
Right on time, we're out of the Hill City yard on the morning train to Keystone and back. While decently patronized, the train isn't quite full by any means. That'll change for the return trip.
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Photo 9
Rolling along on a nice sunny September morning in the Black Hills, even if it is a bit cold. This is somewhere near Kennedyville (milepost 3).
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Photo 10
As I mentioned above, the original Black Hills Central was run with narrow gauge on a section of dual gauge track between Hill City and a narrow gauge wye they constructed at Oblivion. Here's the Oblivion wye track with a caboose still sitting there.
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Photo 11
That said, I have absolutely no idea where this caboose came from, nor if it was originally narrow or standard gauge. It looks like a narrow gauge crummy, but I'm not really sure.
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Photo 12
Once over the crest at Oblivion, the train starts downgrade towards Keystone - still some five miles away.
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Photo 13
At least on this particular Saturday, the train was very well patronized. While we had a few empty seats going from Hill City to Keystone, this huge crowd getting on the train at the Keystone terminal assures there won't be any empty seats on the way back.
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Photo 14
While the new bunch of passengers are loading, 104 and 7 run around the train on the Keystone siding, putting the little 2-6-2T on the front for the return trip. Notice that the weather's deteriorated a bit - it's foggy, overcast, and cold now.
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2006 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net) and Danny J. Holmes, but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work, without the hassle of asking me for explicit permission or fear of copyright violation. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 20D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.3 IS/USM.