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History of the Puffing Billy Railway
Victoria, Australia

The original Puffing Billy Railway was one of four low-cost narrow gauge lines constructed in Victoria at the beginning of the last century to open up remote areas for settlement. The present line between Belgrave and Gembrook is the major part of the 29km, 762mm gauge line which operated between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook from 1900 to 1953. In that year, a landslide blocked the track and because of sustained operating losses, the line was closed.

Public interest in the line with its friendly little train resulted in the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society which, with the blessings of the Victorian Railways and the asistance of the Citizens' Military Forces, succeeded in by-passing the landslide and reopening the line as far as Menzies Creek in 1962. The line was subsequently restored and reopened to Emerald in 1965, extended to Lakeside in 1975 and finally reopened to Gembrook in October 1998.

Now, in the twenty-first century, the general goods and livestock have gone, but the passengers have returned in greater numbers than ever before. Further information about the history of Puffing Billy may be found in souvenir publications which are available at any of the Puffing Billy shops, or at the Puffing Billy web site.

Also available here is an excellent paper written by my friend, Kevin Stanes, who is currently a Conductor on the Puffing Billy Railway. Please read "History of Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook Puffing Billy Railway".

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