Puffing Billy Steam Railway is a genuine relic of Victoria’s early rail days. It is Australia’s oldest steam railway and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. The vintage steam train hauls passenger carriages through the Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Lakeside Station, via Menzies Creek and Emerald, a distance of 13km. A round trip takes just over 2 hours.
And here I was on the 2nd day of my Victoria, Australia adventure. Fresh off my little jaunt at The Dandenong Ranges & nursing a painful finger cos I got bullied by parrots. Still, I was like an excited little kid who couldn’t wait to get on the train.
This station is the headquarters of the Railway, with both operating and administrative facilities. Most Puffing Billy trains commence their journeys here. Rail distance from Melbourne 41.8km (26 miles). Altitude 227.7m (747 feet).
The train is truly vintage! Each fleet of train consists of a locomotive followed by a fleet of passenger cars behind it.
Not only the trains & train stations are authentic (all were restored from the originals), even the staff here are dressed to the theme! It was a nice sight to see the train marshals in their smart uniforms ;-) .
Standing here, right on the platform, walking around the station & speaking to the marshals, it felt really surreal; and I was transported back to the hey days when the trains were not just for recreational purposes but were actual mode of transportation for the people. Words failed to describe my feelings as I strolled on the platform, sat in the train & ran my hands over the locomotive.
The front view of each train …
The passengers’ car.
The interior of the passenger’s car. Clean, functional and simple. :-)
And you’ll get to sit hanging out of the carriage like this! Haha.. it was fun!
2. Locomotive Depot
On departure from Belgrave station, the locomotive running shed and workshops may be seen to the left of the train. Extensive servicing and repair facilities provide for continuous maintenance and restoration.
3. Passenger carriage
– sitting with your legs hanging out from side = AWESOME! ;-)
4. The View –
Pleasant views over rolling farmlands, distant mountain ranges & green forest while all the time enjoying the brisk nippy country air.
5. Intermediate stations: example – MENZIES CREEK
Named after an early miner who worked in the area. Trains in opposite directions often ‘cross’ here. 6km (3.75 miles) from Belgrave. Altitude 303.6 m (996 feet). Toilets are provided at the station.
6. Another station along the journey: LAKESIDE (Emerald Lake)
This was the terminus of the line before reopening to Gembrook in 1998. Trains usually pause here for the crew to fill the locomotive water tanks. Picnic and barbecue facilities are in the adjacent Emerald Lake Park, which offers pleasant walks, a pool and paddle boats in the summer months. Toilets are provided at the station. 13.2km (8.25 miles) from Belgrave. Altitude 242m (795 feet).
7. Last stop: GEMBROOK
Once a busy centre for the dispatch of timber and farm produce from the district. Picnic facilities are provided at the station and in the adjacent park. Trains usually stop over for an hour or more for visitors to explore the historic town before the return trip. 24km (15 miles) from Belgrave. Altitude 311.8m (1020 feet).
We got down here & I took some shots of the quaint pieces around the station as we waited for our guide Rainer.
Mrs Mac is apparently a local favourite here. Their beef, cheese & bacon pie is the best among the rest of flavours.
Me & Wilson chilling after our train ride. And yes, in Australia it’s very common to see people sitting right under the sun’s rays outside of their homes, cafes, sidewalks and campuses. So different from in Malaysia where we hide from the sun as much as possible ;-) . Then again, the weather there is so much more pleasant!
Thumbs up for Mrs Mac’s pies!
Download Colour Version – Timetable Brochure 1 April 2011 to 31 October 2011 (PDF 1.5mb)
Puffing Billy Steam Railway
Old Monbulk Road
Belgrave VIC 3160
Tel: (03) 9757 0700
Fax: (03) 9757 0705
PLEASE VISIT: www.puffingbilly.com.au . There’s special services where you can rent a train for weddings, corporate events and even book a table to dine onboard!
Just for recap, my 10 days trip covers the Melbourne’s South East Touring Triangle of Yarra Valley & The Dandenong Ranges, Philip Islands & the Mornington Peninsular as depicted by the map below. All thanks to Tourism Australia & Tourism Victoria!