Puffing Billy Railway Lakeside Visitor Centre, Emerald Lake Park

The new Visitor Centre will enhance the Puffing Billy experience by featuring a café, function spaces, significantly upgraded toilet facilities, retail, food and beverage options and interpretation spaces for school groups and families.

The new site will become the hub of the railway and shall be instrumental in opening up the Lakeside to Gembrook section of the train line for use all year round.

Funding Sources

  • $8.2M from the Victorian State Government
  • $5.5M from the Federal Government
  • $6.3M from Puffing Billy Railway


Project updates

March 2020

With the new year already three months in and the weather starting to cool off, the site of the new Lakeside Visitor Centre is starting to take shape!

To date works have been consistent in establishing the site, on the station side of Emerald Lake, safely secured with vision windows installed for the public to get an insight into construction works as they progress.

Working with local contractors in undertaking the re-diversion of a water main, the project has successfully completed early works including minor demolition and earth retention works.

Underground services have been installed in preparation for the ground slab, with the structure to follow in upcoming weeks.

Kane Constructions, alongside the Emerald Tourist Railway Board, Terroir architects, AECOM and Wood & Grieve Engineers, hope to continue this steady progress as preparation and planning continues for the remainder of works.

Currently, with all works proceeding as planned the Lakeside Visitor Centre is now anticipated to finish construction works for handover by Early 2021.

December 2019

On Tuesday 17th December, the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing visited Emerald Lake Park to support and witness the early works on the $20 million, state-of-the-art centre which is due to open in December, 2020.

The event was attended by a group of esteemed guests, including the Emerald Tourist Railway Board, Cardinia Shire members, Terroir Architects, Construction company Kane Constructions, Engineering firm AECOM, Puffing Billy staff and Management and fellow residents and local business owners of Emerald.

November 2019

From Thursday 7th November, works on site commenced with access altered until November 22. While all arriving and departing trains, and its passengers, still had pedestrian access to Lakeside and the wig wag crossing, the site was and continues to be temporarily unavailable to buses on the station side of the lake. Alternative interim bus bays in the Lakeside car park have been arranged as part of approved Traffic Management Plans.

Upcoming works

Stage one tree works will began from Tuesday 12th November, including the first Saturday, to Friday 22nd November, with no works scheduled on Sunday 17th November. During this time, there were no trains stopping at Lakeside and the station side of this railway was closed. The opposing side of the railway remained open to the public, unless otherwise notified.

From Tuesday 19th November, water main diversion works commenced and took approximately 5-6 weeks to complete. This activity was finished before the Christmas break and did not impact train services running through Lakeside. Road access was impacted between the wig wag crossing and the lake nearest the Council Enviro Centre and footbridge. Pedestrian access across this crossing was and continues to be maintained by Puffing Billy and Council.

Parking will be disrupted until car park works are completed in early 2020. Alternate parking within the park is available at Lion's Den and Bellbird car parks.

August 2019

The Emerald Tourist Railway Board (ETRB), owner and operator of the Puffing Billy Railway, is about to commence work on the new state-of-the-art $20 million Visitor Centre operating at Lakeside Station, Emerald Lake Park. Kane Constructions, a multi-award-winning company has been contracted to deliver the new and exciting Lakeside Discovery Centre.


Upcoming works

In the weeks following, the project team began preliminary site establishment works including site amenities installation. As of the 26th of August, the actual construction works commenced with early-stage site preparation works, gradually increasing in activity over the next two months with a scheduled completion date for the project of late 2020.

Please note that car parking will be maintained and business within the park will continue operating during this time.


Keep informed

At all times, our aim is to keep you well informed. In doing so, please be assured that we are working hard to minimise any construction impacts on residents, park visitors and businesses during the construction period. Kane Constructions will also have project management on site who will be able to receive and provide an initial response to any queries or concerns directly related to construction activities.


Contact us

Should you have any specific project-related queries or would like to discuss any aspect of the project, please do not hesitate to speak with us. You are also welcomed to email us on Nicoleta.Giurgiu@pbr.org.au.


We look forward to delivering this exciting new project, to be available to all public and park users to the entire Emerald community, tourists and visitors to Puffing Billy Railway.

Emerald Lake Park - Local Residents Feedback Form

Puffing Billy - LDC Great Hall

Image above: Great Hall


Image above: Discovery Centre Entrance


Image above: External view from Model Railway car park