The initial role of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society, founded in 1955, was to provide a financial guarantee against loss to the Victorian Railways, which continued to operate the little train between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave. P.B.P.S. volunteers acted as “safety officers” and were involved in promotional and fundraising work.
Excursion train at Belgrave c. 1955. From the Norm dePomeroy collection.
When that section of the line closed in 1958 for conversion to an electrified broad-gauge line, P.B.P.S. members became physically involved in construction and track work under Victorian Railways supervision.
Upon re-opening between Belgrave and Menzies Creek in 1962, volunteer roles extended to station staff (including booking) but loco crews and guards continued to be V.R. staff positions, while the P.B.P.S. Executive Committee acted as Manager of the Railway.