Puffing Billy Railway is an Australian narrow-gauge railway, and was opened on the December 18th 1900 as a tour-train, and eventually became a tourist railway in 1962 — the entire railway was finally re-opened to the public just before the new millennium, in 1998.
The 2ft 6in (762mm) narrow gauge line was created, in the early 1900s, to service the remote areas of Victoria, Australia. The track snakes its way through the forests of the Dandenong Ranges, which are full of ferns and wildlife.
When it opened, the line was 18.2mi (29km) long and was called the Gembrook line. It ran from Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook until 1953. The line was created to deliver supplys to the farming communities and timber from the forests.
The line soon proved uneconomical, and in the 1920s, demand for more freight made things even worse. The problem being, the small locomotives that ran on the line cost more and more money with every ton (tonne) of freight. The amount of passengers was amazing though, in 1920-1921, the railway took more than 50,000 people between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook.
In 1953, a landslide blocked the track. This, and the fact that is was costing to much to run, closed the track.
Public interest drove the creation of the Puffing Billy Peservation Society. Started in 1955 with help from the Citizens' Military Forces, reopened the line to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and in 1998 through to Gembrook.
The railway is now a historic tourist line. It runs between the towns of Belgrave and Gembrook. The service runs everyday except Christmas Day.
The following locomotives ran/run on the Puffing Billy Railway:
- Victorian Railways NA Class
- G 42
- PBR No. 1694 "Climax"
- PBR No. 1711 "Sir John Grice"
- PBR No. 861 "J.C. Rees"
- PBR No. 986 "Carbon"