Paul's Web Space: Puffing Billy

Train on bridge

Puffing Billy

Puffing Billy is a Victorian tourist railway. One of the only continuing operating steam engine train lines in the world, riding on this train transports you back in time. It also takes you through the beautiful fern-lined Dandenong Ranges on a 24 km, 3 and a half hour round trip.

Puffing Billy is operated by hundreds of dedicated volunteers. In the early 1900s four narrow gauge lines were used to develop reural areas in Victoria. Off those lines only the Belgrave to Gembrook line still remains. Originally shut down and dismantled after a land slide, the track was gradually restored and the engines preserved. Only recently the last stretch of track to Gembrook was finally restored.

Puffing Billy


Puffing Billy's line began operation in 1900. It carried large quantities of timber, potatoes, as well as weekend visitors looking for a day trip. Although electric trains arrived, the train continued on. The only thing that could stop it were two landslides. In 1954 the train was officially farewelled.

The Puffing Billy Preservation Society was formed to keep the line alive, and not be replaced by electric trains. A lot of work was involved. A new terminal was created, miles of track had to be replaced, several level crossings had to be restored, and the landslide bypassed. After a lot of volunteer work, in 1962 the train was running to Menzies Creek. Three years later the track was extended to Emerald. In 1975 the track was extended to Lakeside. In the early 90's work began on extending the line to Cockatoo, and by 1998, the track was extended all the way to Gembrook.

Belgrave station

Train Timetable information

Riding the Train

Puffing Billy operates from the Belgrave station, 40 KM from Melbourne. Trips can also be commenced from Menzies Creek, Emerald, Lakeside or Gembrook.

To get to Belgrave you can drive. Belgrave station is located on Melway Map 75 reference G9. Two car parks are close by. Alternatively you could take a suburban train from Flinders Street station. Trains depart frequently, but an express train leaves Flinders Street at 9:17 am. The Met station is only a brief walk from the Puffing Billy station.

The train trip is 24 KM long. There are several stops along the way. At the Menzies Creek station is a Steam Musuem housing a collection of early steam locomotives. This musuem is open Sundays and public holidays. The Lakeside station is located at Emerald Lake. Emerald Lake Park is operated independently of the Railway. It has bushwalking tracks, waterslides, children's swimming area, picnic and BBQ facilites and model railway.

Trains run from Belgrave four times a day. On days of total fire ban, diesel, rather than steam locomotives will run along the line.

Click here for a map of the route (49.6 KB).

Trestle Bridge

Trestle bridge

The Trestle bridge, just out of Belgrave is one of the largest wooden railway bridges. It is one of the most easily recognised parts of the track. A viewing area is located near by for observors to watch the train cross over. Several smaller trestle bridges were recreated in between Lakeside and Gembrook.


For more Information

Visit the Puffing Billy website

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