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International Railroad Discussion > One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway


Date: 01/18/24 11:04
One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

Disclaimers: I am not the biggest fan of tourist (heritage) railways. I am not the biggest fan of steam. I am not the biggest fan of steam tourist (heritage) railways. I absolutely loved my day riding the Puffing Billy train in the forested hills east of Melbourne. The Puffing Billy Railway is a narrow gauge (3' 6") remnant of a mainline that was saved from oblivion in the 1960s if I remember correctly. It is easily reached by Metro service to Belgrave. The line is operated all the way to Gembrook but while I was there the longest trip option was to Lakeside which features dining, a small museum, and a large model train layout. On the Monday that I was there, I rode the first train of the day departing at 10 AM and departing from Lakeside at 12:30 PM. The trip takes about an hour each way. There were four trains to and from Lakeside that day. Puffing Billy is very professionally run and operates in a historic manner such as using tokens for block occupancy in addition to the semaphore signals.

1. Of course, I headed straight for the diesel, in this case a diesel hydraulic, DH59, one of 73 units built for Queensland Railways starting in 1968. Long retired from Queensland Railway service, these units can be found widely dispersed in industrial and heritage service. Seen at the Belgrave engine house.

2. The line features both manually-operated and slightly newer automatic semaphore signals.

3. Another diesel hydraulic, DH5, will haul the third train of the day because there were not enough serviceable steam locomotives that day. Diesels also replace steam on any day that there is a fire risk.








Date: 01/18/24 11:09
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

4. My train would be hauled by 2-6-2T #12A. I include this shot to show the golf cart highrailer that follows the train to deal with any spot fire issues.

5. While most passengers were finding their carriages, I was up front to see the locomotive couple to the train.

6. 2-6-2T #12A at the head of the train at Belgrave.








Date: 01/18/24 11:17
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

7. The scenic highlight of the line is this curved trestle just a few minutes east of Belgrave. And, yes, this is Australia so feel free to ride hanging halfway out of the train. Fun! And there was a photo line of sorts down below.

8. Upgrade with ten loaded cars, the steamer is working hard but not struggling.

9. Parts of the line are quite curvy and dense with trees and ferns. Shoes? Who needs shoes?








Date: 01/18/24 11:27
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

10. Sorry, I do not know what the 'N' sign indicates unless it marks the location of Nobelius.

11. One of the larger semaphore signal installations approaching Lakeside.

12. Not sure if this map will resolve once compressed, but it shows the line and provides history. The dotted portion at left is now the broad gauge Metro commuter line.








Date: 01/18/24 11:31
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

13. After arrival at Lakeside, the locomotive takes on water.

14. If you wait long enough all the other tourists disappear.

15. While waiting for our 12:30 PM departure, the second train of the day arrives behind this beast. Who knew there were narrow gauge Garratts? As it was Christmas time, the locomotive is lettered for the Polar Express.








Date: 01/18/24 11:35
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

16. The builder's plate on the South African Garratt.

17. The curved trestle going in the other direction. The empty car is because some tour groups did not do a round trip.

18. After arrival back at Belgrave our 2-6-2T heads off for servicing and will handle the fourth train of the day.








Date: 01/18/24 11:43
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: NMlurker

19. I quite liked my Metro train back to Melbourne with its Aboriginal-inspired graphics.

20. The Metro train on the platform at Belgrave. Service was every thirty minutes.

21. Back in Melbourne, on Spencer Street near La Trobe Street, this would be the last rail-related photo that I would take on this trip. A vintage tram going who-knows-where for who-knows-what-reason. Six years ago, older trams like this were still in regular service, particularly on the La Trobe Street line.








Date: 01/18/24 15:37
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: PasadenaSub

Great photos of what looks like a very enjoyable operation to ride and photograph.

Rich



Date: 01/18/24 17:38
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: Ritzville

Very interesting series!

Larry



Date: 01/20/24 11:40
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: 86235

Those semaphores look like somersaults.

BTW the builders plate of that Garratt should look like this, but built in 1951 not 1958



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/24 15:17 by 86235.




Date: 01/25/24 13:39
Re: One Month Ago: Finale: The Puffing Billy Railway
Author: MEKoch

All the people hanging off the train would give every blood sucking lawyer in the USA a shot of adrenalin!  



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