Riding the Puffing Billy Railway 🚂

At the beginning of last month we spent a week in Melbourne. So I know I’m trying to be early to things, but I can’t be early to this, so we’ll just have to accept that I am writing about it eventually. 😁 I think that #blogeverydamnday has encouraged me to just get into a regular habit of writing, even if that writing might just involve writing about things I have on a “backlog”.

I started writing a single blog post about our Melbourne trip but it ended up being very long so I decided to split some parts out. I used to care quite a lot about chronological order and telling a story in order… but I think that sometimes, not every detail needs to be told, and it’s fine for some details to be split out and highlighted in separate posts. Whatever floats my own boat, really. 😛

Nick had really wanted to do the Puffing Billy steam railway on one of our trips to Melbourne, since he hadn’t been on it since he was a kid (and could barely remember it anyway). We were alright to take a couple of days off work to fit that in, so we booked it in for Thursday morning and took the Thursday and Friday off work, while we worked remotely from Monday through Wednesday.

On the Thursday morning we woke up early to catch a couple of trains for the long journey to Belgrave, where the ride for the Puffing Billy steam train would start. It was about an hour’s trip from Melbourne CBD. It was very cold that day, even though we layered up, and there was a bit of rain, but the ride still went ahead. It was about a 45 minute ride each way, and returned on the same track.

Nick, a white man with short dark hair, wearing a dark blue jacket and blue sunglasses and standing in front of a steam train, smiling.
Nick is excited 😁
A steam train parked at a station.
Ready to go?

The unique thing about this experience is that children (over a certain age) and adults can ride on the side of the train safely. You can see the views from the side of the train and there is enough clearance on the whole track to not just peek out, but to sit on the sides and dangle your legs as well if you feel so inclined.

A selfie of, Georgie, an Asian woman with short dark hair, wearing sunglasses and sitting on the side of a steam train.
A selfie with the side of the train

The station we stopped at had a restaurant for lunch and some areas to walk around a small lake. The restaurant was the only place to really eat, so pretty much everyone who was riding the train was eating there. The rain stayed away during the short lunch break.

A dark blue and black bird with a red beak, walking amongst some grass.
I forgot what this bird is called, but it sure is pretty.
A view of a lake with slight ripples in the water, with some lush green trees in the background. The sky is blue but with many clouds.
A view on the lake

Nick asked me what my favourite steam train ride was (out of all the ones we’d been on). I felt like this one was the most fun and the most interesting because we could sit on the sides safely and have our legs dangling out while enjoying the view. We’d previously been on steam trains at the Festival of Steam in Thirlmere, Disney World on the steam trains tour, and the West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tasmania.

Nick and Georgie sitting on the side of a train window, looking at the camera and smiling.
Another passenger took his photo (but it felt like the guy next to Nick was trying to be in the photo HAHA)

Of course, everyone was taking photos and videos while they were seated on the sides of the train, and also taking photos of their family. Some onlookers stood by the side of the tracks on the train’s route, taking photos and waving. We waved back. We spotted a man taking photos with a professional camera on a tripod, and then saw him again a couple more times at parts of the the track that crossed over roads. Maybe he was doing a cool timelapse or something.

There was a particular part of the track that went on a bridge and must’ve looked very cool to onlookers as well. There was an area on the side of the road where people parked and took photos and waved enthusiastically. It honestly seemed like everyone driving vehicles on the road waved!

A view from the side of a steam train going on a wooden bridge that is above a road. The side of the train in front of the camera is visible. There are some onlookers and their cars down below.
A great shot coming over the bridge
A view from the side of a steam train similar to the previous photo but over a wooden bridge high off the ground. The train looks like it is going into a forest and there is steam coming from the engine.
I took this shot from a video, but it was still cool that steam was visible at this point!

Although it was far out of town I think it’s a unique experience worth checking out if you find yourself in or near Melbourne. Enjoy the photos. 🚂

I’m blogging every day in January 2023. Let me know if you’ll be joining in and trying to blog every day. 😊 The hashtag you can use on social media is #blogeverydamnday.

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Hi, Georgie,

the bird is called a Purple Swamphen.

And, yes, they are delightful and pretty!

They are affectionately called Swampies.

If it is not a Purple Swamphen; it is probably a Dusky Moorhen.

Other birds in that part of the Dandenongs include Eurasian Coots [which are mostly black and white] and Teal Ducks.

Plus ordinary ducks with green heads.

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Thanks Adelaide—I appreciate your knowledge! It was just walking around the pond, and I don’t recall any signage about the birds in the area, and if I did see any I probably forgot. The purple swamphen and dusky moorhen do look really similar so it could be either of those. I believe I did see the ducks with green heads too.

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Glad you saw the green-headed ducks.

The closest there would be to signage would be in Jells Park [Wheelers Hill] in their bird hide.

Emerald Lake Park does have a lot of information about many things – but not birds.

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