DRGW History and Information  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Black Hills Central started as the dream of two men to create a railroad where steam would live on, a living museum of sorts where future generations could experience steam first-hand. One of these men was William Heckman, who had public relations experience with both the C&EI and the M&StL. The other was Robert Freer, from Electro-Motive Diesel's sales department. The irony is not lost on me that an employee of the company which brought about the end of the steam era would also be instrumental in saving it.

By 1956, they'd secured a lease on the ex-Colorado & Southern narrow gauge equipment that the CB&Q had used for rides around the 1948-1949 Chicago Railroad Fair. Also included was initial lease was Colorado & Southern 9, a narrow gauge Cooke 2-6-0 built for the Denver, South Park & Pacific in 1884. The only problem now was the the lack of surviving narrow gauge on which to run their new-found equipment.

Through a partnership with the CB&Q, the two secured use of the Keystone branch, running from Hill City, SD, about ten miles east to Keystone. The only problem was that the Keystone Branch was an active part of the Burlington's standard gauge network, with active shippers still present on the route. As a result, a third rail was laid from Hill City to a point roughly halfway up the line, known as Oblivion, where a wye was constructed for turning.

The line still lacked power. #9, the little C&S 2-6... (Continued)

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