- What: Puffing Billy Railway
- Where: Outside Melbourne, Australia
- Founded: 1900
- Cost: $15 and up (see here)
- More Information: Puffing Billy website
A great day trip for anyone living in the Melbourne area is a trip to the scenic Dandenong Ranges just east of Melbourne:
The Dandenongs depending on where you live in Melbourne should be able to be reached in at least under an hour and provides a convenient getaway into the famous giant mountain ashes only found in the southern Victorian Alps and Tasmania. The Dandenongs are filled with bed and breakfasts and many fine restaurants. You can easily fill a weekend with the things to do here.
The best way to get around and see the Dandenongs is without doubt by the Puffing Billy Railway. Puffing Billy begins in the small Dandenong city of Belgrave on the west side of the range and travels across the range to the city of Gembrook on the east side.
Here are some facts about the Puffing Billy:
Here is a picture of the train station where you purchase tickets for the train:
The ride in between Belgrave and Gembrook takes two hours one way. My wife and I weren’t up for a four hour round trip train ride so we chose the two hour round trip ride to the city of Lakeside half way across the range. The ticket only cost about $50 bucks combined for both us which isn’t to bad. We proceeded to go and board the train which proved to be quite difficult. We were riding the train on a weekend and it was packed with people. Your ticket does not confirm a seat. It is first come first serve basis. If you don’t get a sit then you have to stand. The train was so packed some people weren’t even able to get on.
Here is a picture of the Puffy Billy engine that would be pulling our train:
Here is what the inside of the driver’s compartment looks like inside the steam engine:
Here is a picture of the train as it pulls out of Belgrave Station:
Not to long after we left the station the train passed the first trestle bridge:
Something kind of unusual about the Puffing Billy compared to tourist railways in the US is that people can sit off the side of the rail car:
I tried sitting like that, but I’m just to big to sit that way. My wife was able to sit and hang out the car, but quickly gave it up as the train climbed higher in the mountains and the temperature dropped. Once in the higher elevation the train passed through beautiful forests of mountain ash trees:
The train also passed much rolling country side and farms:
Before long the train arrived in Lakeside and we disembarked to explore Lakeside during a two hour wait for the next train to depart back to Belgrave. Lakeside ended up being a nice little place to spend a couple of hours checking out.
Next Posting: Puffing Billy Railway – Part 2