History & Heritage

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The Puffing Billy railway was one of four low-cost 2'6" (762mm) gauge lines constructed in Victoria in the early 1900s to open up remote areas.

The present line between Belgrave and Gembrook, through the forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, is the major part of the line which opened on 18 December 1900 and operated over 18.2 miles (29km) between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook until 1953. In 1953, a landslide blocked the track and, because of operating losses, the line was closed the following year.

Public interest resulted in the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, whose volunteers, with the blessings of the Victorian State Government and the assistance of the Citizens' Military Forces, by-passed the landslide and reopened the line to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and finally to Gembrook in October 1998.

Narrow Gauge History to 1953

Victoria's narrow-gauge railways - A brief history to 1953


Puffing Billy is Reborn

From the early 1930's, the Gembrook railway earned a reputation for being a financial liability on the Victorian Railways.



The first three decades of the 20th Century with particular emphasis on the early 1920s, focuses on the Railway’s most active and optimistic period.