The long climb to Hill City. Working hard in reverse, Black Hills Central Locomotive #110 hauls the first westbound trip of the day from Keystone, SD to Hill City through the S-curves at about Milepost 6.3. With no turning facilities at either end of the line, and most of the locomotives facing east, the westbound trips on this line are typically run in reverse. Since most of the westbound run is uphill, the best stack-talk and the most dramatic smoke show on this line generally occurs with the engines running backward. Normally, I'm not a fan of photographing steam engines running this way, but historically, it was quite prototypical for these large, logging Mallets to run like this half the time.
The section of the line pictured here is quite interesting from the perspective of the motorists on Old Hill City Road, as the railroad crosses the highway six times in the space of just over a mile. If you're driving the speed limit of 35 mph, and you have to stop for the first crossing, you will likely have to stop for all six.