Fire Strategy

Total Fire Ban

On days of Total Fire Ban in the Central District of Victoria, steam locomotives will not run at Puffing Billy Railway. Instead, Diesel locomotives will operate on a limited timetable. We will ensure our website is kept up to date regarding the Railway's operations during the Fire Danger period and Total Fire Ban days. However, if you have any concerns or queries, please contact our Customer Service Centre.

 

Please note that on TOTAL FIRE BAN days:

  • Puffing Billy trains will be diesel hauled and a limited timetable applies.

When the fire rating is EXTREME or CODE RED:

  • Puffing Billy Railway will be CLOSED.
  • No staff or volunteers will be located on the Railway's premises.
From Belgrave
Belgrave Departure10.30 am12.30 pm2.30 pm
Menzies Creek Arrival10.53 am12.59 pm2.53 pm
Menzies Creek Departure11.05 am1.10 pm3.00 pm
Emerald Arrival11.19 am1.24 pm3.19 pm
Emerald Departure11.20 am1.25 pm3.20 pm
Lakeside Arrival11.30 am1.40 pm3.30 pm
To Belgrave
Lakeside Departure12.30 pm2.25 pm4.15 pm
Emerald Arrival12.44 pm2.39 pm4.29 pm
Emerald Departure12.45 pm2.40 pm4.30 pm
Menzies Creek Arrival12.57 pm2.57 pm4.42 pm
Menzies Creek Departure1.02 pm3.00 pm4.43 pm
Belgrave Arrival1.30 pm3.30 pm5.08 pm

To understand the Country Fire Authority's (CFA) fire danger ratings, please refer to the CFA website.

Puffing Billy Diesel Loco

fire prevention

Puffing Billy Railway regularly reviews its Fire Prevention Plans with the intention of minimising the fire risk within and adjacent to the railway corridor.

lineside

The annual ground fuel reduction program commences in November. In the majority of areas this program covers the railway ground from boundary to boundary and is carried out using hand held brush cutters, tractor and slasher, rail mounted flail mower and a wood chipper.

This work which is very much weather dependent has, in past years, consumed some 1000 man days of effort and it is anticipated that the coming year will be no different. Regular work gangs the railway are working online side clearing between Belgrave and Gembrook with this program.

As in previous years rail mounted Fire Patrol vehicles will operate behind all trains be they steam or diesel hauled for the duration of the declared Fire Danger period. The primary role of the Fire Patrol crew is the detection and reporting of fires. Their secondary role is to fight the fire if it is within their training and resource capacity to safely do so.

train operations

All steam locomotives are fitted with stainless steel spark arresting grids in the smoke box and the ash pans located under the locomotive fire boxes are fitted with ash arresting screens which are required to be closed prior to the locomotives commencing operations during the declared Fire Danger period.

These safety devices are checked for serviceability by maintenance staff prior to and during the Fire Danger Season. Locomotive crews are required to check the safety devices for serviceability and correct operation on a daily basis.

On days of Total Fire Ban, diesel locomotives will normally be operated in place of steam locomotives. Services between Lakeside and Gembrook may be suspended on these days.

Training/Emergency Services Liaison

Annual training sessions are carried out for Fire Patrol crew members and other railway staff. The railway maintains close contact with local CFA brigades and other emergency service providers.

PLEASE NOTE

  • Passengers with pre-booked tickets for any of the Excursion train departures operating on a Total Fire Ban day (10.30am, 12.30pm or 2.30pm from Belgrave): NO ACTION IS NECESSARY. These trains will operate as normal, although hauled by a Diesel locomotive instead of a Steam locomotive.
  • Passengers with pre-booked tickets for any other Excursion train departure on a Total Fire Ban Day: Your train has been cancelled. Puffing Billy Railway will be in touch with you to arrange a transfer of your ticket to another date. If this is not possible, a full refund will be offered.
  • All chartered trains (Lunch and Dining trains) will operate as normal, although hauled by a Diesel locomotive instead of a Steam locomotive.