Commissioners' Train

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Travel aboard a train hauled by Climax 1694 – Puffing Billy’s only wood fired locomotive and the only such locomotive operating in Australia. Go behind the scenes with workshop and museum inspections and enjoy morning tea and lunch.

 

Your Day | Belgrave - Menzies Creek - Emerald - Lakeside - Gembrook | Who were the Commissioners? | Locomotive Climax 1694
 

Your day starts at Puffing Billy's Belgrave station, where a tour of the railway's locomotive workshop is available from 8:00 am

The Commissioners’ Train will depart Belgrave for Menzies Creek at 9:00 am hauled by Climax Locomotive 1694

At Menzies Creek, you can disembark to view the progress on the new Puffing Billy Museum. Alternatively, watch the shunting operations when a NA locomotive will be included behind the Climax. The NA locomotive is the only class to have operated on the original Puffing Billy Line to Gembrook railway prior to closure in 1954, so it can legitimately be referred to as the only "true" Puffing Billy locomotive.
(Please note that due to upgrading of the museum, this inspection may be limited to external obseration only.) 

After a 30 minute break, the Commissioners' Train continues to Emerald station, double headed with the Climax and NA locomotive.

Climax Locomotive in running shed

In Emerald, you will enjoy morning tea, and there will be an open house at the carriage workshops. Climax 1694 will detach and retire for the day during this stop.

After a 55 minute break, the NA locomotive will haul the train for the rest of the trip to Gembrook, with a short stop at Lakeside. There will also be a brief safe working stop at Cockatoo, a station still in the era of yesteryear.

Upon arrival at Gembrook, you'll be sure to enjoy lunch at the re-furbished local pub - The Ranges Hotel.

Kindly let us know upon booking if you have any special dietary requirements. Please note drinks are at bar prices, with complimentary tea & coffee available back at the Gembrook Station.

Puffing Billy carriages near Gembrook station

The Commissioners' Train will combine with the scheduled service for the return departure to Belgrave at 2:45 pm, arriving at 4:32 pm. This train will be double headed with NA Locomotives.

More about Puffing Billy's locomotives

 

The Climax Commissioners' Train will return in 2018:

Saturday 7th April 

Further dates to be released as the 2018 timetable is confirmed.

 

Commissioner's Train 2018 prices:

$119 - Adult Puffing Billy Preservation Society Member

$129 - Adult

$79 - Child Puffing Billy Preservation Society Member

$89 - Child

Climax 1694 and 6A at Emerald

Photos courtesy of Dean Gifford, Karen Gunn and Michael Greenhill

 

Lunch Options at the Ranges Hotel - Gembrook

NEW for 2018 - lunch is hosted by the Ranges Hotel, offering reserved seating, shared entree's and a pre-selected main meal.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements in the "Notes" box when completing your booking.

Lunch options include:

  • Slow cooked beef steak with red wine sauce
  • Chicken Parma - with house cooked ham and napoli sauce
  • Chicken Snitzel
  • Seasonal vegetarian option

Meals are served with hand cut chips and garden salad.

 

PASSENGERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Passengers requiring wheelchair access are advised to contact our Customer Service Centre on (03) 9757 0700  so we can ensure that your needs can be best accommodated.

 

LOCATION & CAR PARKING

To assist you when planning your visit to Puffing Billy Railway please browse our Plan Your Visit page.

To help you find accommodation in the Dandenong Ranges as well as other tourist attractions close to Puffing Billy, we have included a selection of useful links .

 

who were the commissioners?

Puffing Billy was operated by the former Victorian Railways (VR) after opening in 1900. The VR had a staff of many thousands at its peak around 1920-1930, and was run by a Board of Commissioners. One of the regular duties of the Commissioners was to keep a sharp eye on everything that was going on throughout the railway system, which they did by travelling around the state in what were known as 'Commissioners' Inspection Trains'. 
These were run independently of any regular timetables and trains and were staffed by the elite of VR employees – for example, the VR's top driver at any time was ranked as the 'Commissioners Driver' and only he was rostered to run the Commissioners' Trains on which the Chairman travelled. 
The aim of the Commissioners was to visit every railway station in Victoria over a year or so, inspect the facilities, converse with staff and address their concerns and to meet with members of local communities who may have had issues with the rail services in their towns. Frantic activity preceded the Commissioners' arrival, with staff (often only the SM at smaller stations) having a big spruce-up for presentation.
To commemorate these very special trains, Puffing Billy is proud to take our patrons on a tour of the raiiway to inspect our facilities - much like the Commissioners did back in the day!