Click on all images to enlarge
Below is the clever navigation table from the Puffing Billy website. Either click on these links to have a quick look, or better still go to their website main page by clicking here
Puffing Billy Railway in Victoria, Australia.
(Review by A. Parker)
Puffing Billy Railway is situated about 26 miles outside Melbourne in the Dandenong hills. It starts at Belgrave and winds its way to Gembrook, a distance of about 18 miles.
The railway was originally used as a tool to try and connect up some of the remote settlements in the area; however, after a landslide in 1953, the line was closed, as it had become un-economic to operate.
It was opened up again with the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation society in 1962; however, only as far as Menzies Creek. The section to Emerald was opened in 1965 and to Lakeside in 1975. The final section to Gembrook was opened in 1998.
I visited the railway in November 2002 on Melbourne Cup day thinking that the railway would be fairly quiet. Wrong! the railway was extremely busy, as can be seen in the Panoramas that you can see below. Puffing Billy is a major attraction in the Melbourne area, just as Mull Railway is on our island. The scale of the operation is obviously different; however, the overall feel is very similar. If you look at the style of the two railways they are clearly similar, and of course the locos are of the same pattern. Victoria of Mull Rail is a scaled down version of the Puffing Billy Locos.
To get to Puffing Billy, I found the best way was to travel from Melbourne on the train. Not only because I am a bit of an 'Anorak' but also because its quick, comfortable, not too expensive, and the railway stops at the place where Puffing Billy starts. The only problem is that you really do have to start your journey fairly early in the day so as to catch the first train going all the way to Gembrook. On the return, you can stop off and have a look around some of the small towns and stations. We found Emerald a good place to stop off and eat and Lakeside a good place to have a walk.
If you are going anywhere near Melbourne then Puffing Billy is a must !
Below are the 360 degree images that I took on my visit. Unfortunately I missed the only train of the day to Gembrook, so the final image is of Lakeside Station. Anyway, I'll just have to visit again to complete the set. 'No worries' as they say in Australia.
Click on the images below to view a Panoramic 360 degree image
The first image will take about 25 seconds to download on a 56k modem
The following images will be quicker.
A really nice feature on the Puffing Billy site is a recording of their whistle sound.