Conserving Cultural Significance
Puffing Billy Railway is proud to offer a number of engineering services in support of the Tourist and Heritage Railway sector.
These are offered as part of our continued effort to conserve and demonstrate the cultural significance of steam power, and the historic forms of transport propelled by it.
The History of Puffing Billy
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. It is the major part of the line which opened on 18 December 1900. The 18.2 mile (29km) Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook narrow gauge line was always a scenic attraction to the people of Melbourne, who began travelling on excursion trains for day trips and weekend holidays in the hills during the railway’s earliest years.
In 1953, a landslide blocked the track and, because of operating losses, the line was officially closed in 1954.
The present-day success of Puffing Billy has evolved from the humble beginnings of its rescue by determined members of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, which was formed due to the public interest.
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 from Belgrave to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and finally to Gembrook in October 1998.
As the second steam railway in the world to be preserved, Puffing Billy Railway continues to build on a wealth of experience spanning more than five decades.
For Puffing Billy Railway, operating and maintaining locomotives and rolling stock from all periods of its 120-year history has been integral to the preservation of traditional practices and machinery, which would otherwise have faded from the modern world.
With a dedicated team of tradesmen from a variety of backgrounds in industry, the Rolling Stock Branch combines traditional practices with ongoing innovation to care for historic assets in a contemporary environment.
From design, construction and fabrication at the Belgrave Locomotive Workshop, to maintenance, repairs and restoration at the Emerald Carriage and Wagon Workshop, Puffing Billy Railway’s Rolling Stock Branch have the skills, equipment and opportunity to assist other tourist and heritage organisations in keeping the tradition of historic rail travel alive.
Get in touch
We are often able to assist similar organisations, utilising both our engineering capability and our specialist skills in heritage locomotive and rolling stock maintenance.
If you have any rail related engineering requirements, feel free to get in touch with us by completing the enquiry form below and arrange a time to visit.