The old steam train

railway track
Puffing Billy Belgrave Station

Puffing Billy is the reconstruction of an old narrow gauge steam railway. Originally built for the farmer's business, it is now entirely for the delight of tourists and railway enthusiasts. According to the information onsite, the train is run by a bunch of professional workers and a group of volunteers.

I went there by local train from Flinders Street. It took me a while to get to Belgrave, the starting point of Puffing Billy. Coming from Europe, one easily forgets Australia has slightly different dimensions. That problem apparently is well-known at the ticket-counter, too. The lady there refused simply to sell me a ticket to Gembrook, the terminal station. She said, if I had nobody to pick me up there, it would be really difficult to get away there and I better should take half the track to Lakeside and then return to Belgrave. And indeed: it was a nice ride and did for the day.

over the trestle bridge

When entering the train, nobody is interested in the formerly good seats - everyone goes for the cars that were for goods and animals. One can sit in the windows there to enjoy the views and photographic opportunities. I enjoyed to see many of the passengers are Chinese these days - looks like more and more of them can affort longer and more special travel.

Right at the beginning of the track one passes the most scenic bridge of the part until Lakeside - make sure you get a good spot at the window - or outside of it!

photography at the train
treeferns along the railway track

"No picking flowers from the operating train!" is what one sais twinkeling in Germany when talking about narrow gauge trains. That seldom is serious, definitely not with Puffing Billy. It's a fairly fast one and on an overcast day like the one I had, one may get some blurry pictures off the train.

Anyway, the railway track most of the times goes trough gum and fern tree forrests, something I could enjoy for hours. Only sometimes, one side opens up to provide wide views across the country and to the ocean.

view across the countryside
Original Puffing Billy

During one of the several stops along the track, I heard one of the insiders saying that one over there was the original Puffing Billy - well, here it is.

best car in Billy

At the end of the (booked) track, there is lots of time to photograph, to chat and to get a coffee before going back to Belgrave.

caring for the old gear serving the train traditionally
refilling an old gem
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