Some 55 years ago our family took a trip on Puffing Billy. The scenic railway line runs from Belgrave in the Dandenong Hills to Lakeside and beyond to Cockatoo and Gembrook. The railway line, now over 100 years old is a major tourist attraction in Victoria and is manned by over 500 active volunteers. It is self funded.
It is part of the original Victorian Railway branch line between Upper Ferntree Gully and Genbrook. In 1953 a hillside collapsed and covered the track at a place now called “Landslide”. The Victorian Railways abandoned the Gembrook line, and closed it in 1954. Later that year “The Sun” newspaper put on free train rides for Melbourne children to farewell their favourite train. The rides became so popular that the “Puffing Billy Preservation Society” was formed the following year to lobby the Government to run trains on weekends. Eventually the popular trip was reestablished.
The trip only takes one hour one way with an hour and half stop at the lake before returning to Belgrave. There are a couple of alternative trips available as well. Excellent value for money.
It was a wonderful day, albeit bitterly cold. It brought back some beautiful memories. I highly recommend this trip, especially if you have young children or grandchildren to take.