Puffing Billy Railway is a heritage narrow gauge railway in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. The rail line opened in 1900 to help open up the ranges to new settlers. The scenic Upper Ferntree Gully – Gembrook line was one of four narrow gauge (2’6″) lines built in Victoria. The line was closed in 1954 after a landslide, but thanks to dedicated volunteers it was partially re-opened as a tourist train in 1962.
The Railway now relies on more than 300 volunteers in both behind the scenes and public facing roles, including as conductors, track maintenance crew, visitor guides, and locomotive drivers. There is a fleet of steam and diesel locomotives, as well a range of carriages including the iconic Holiday class excursion cars with window sills to sit on.
Departing Belgrave, passengers travel to Lakeside Station and Emerald Park Lake, the home of the new Lakeside Visitor Centre with many exhibits and artefacts to explore, including Puffing Billy Railway’s first locomotive, 3A.
Visitors also have the option to visit Menzies Creek Station and the Menzies Creek Museum, with over 80 artefacts, including a working boiler, showcasing the power of steam and change in technology over time.
There are cafes at both the Lakeside Visitors Centre and Menzies Creek Museum, and pre-ordered picnic packs are available to enjoy while visiting Lakeside.
Admission to the Visitrs Centre and Museum are free. If travlleing by train, tickets must be pre-booked online.