A Century-Old Tradition Makes a Long-Awaited Comeback to Puffing Billy Railway

A Century-Old Tradition Makes a Long-Awaited Comeback to Puffing Billy Railway
Passengers with their feet outside the carriages of a Puffing Billy train, Photo Credit: VittoriaChe / Shutterstock.com
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Happy travellers can once again enjoy the beautiful sceneries with their legs dangling outside the carriages of the Puffing Billy trains

Saptak Choudhury
February 10 , 2022
03 Min Read

If there's one thing Melbourne's Puffing Billy Railway is iconic for, it's the century-old tradition of people enjoying scenic views while sitting on the sills of the carriages, dangling their legs outside. However, the practice was banned after an accident in 2018, much to the ire of travellers and rail enthusiasts.

The ban was recently overturned earlier this month, after much mourning by and concerns from the locals that the tradition may no longer see the light of day. Extra safety features in the carriages have also been introduced, albeit after significant delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, from February 4, 2022, onwards, passengers can now enjoy their journeys sitting on the sills with their legs outside the carriage.

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"It’s been a labour of love for our team, partners, and supporters, and we are absolutely delighted to be able to offer the iconic sitting on the sills experience to adults and children aged from four to thirteen once again," said Peter Abbott, CEO of Puffing Billy Railway. "Nothing beats the ride through the towering forests, around bends, over bridges and streams, waving at passers-by, all the while sitting on the carriage sill as Puffing Billy steams gently along the tracks."  

For those seeking to gain further enjoyment, lunch can be ordered from the new state-of-the-art Lakeside Visitor Centre cafe menu. Guests can dine in prior to departure, or fill their picnic baskets with tasty treats to devour on the journey. Here, visitors can also shop for locally made gifts and handcrafted treasures. Or they could explore a collection of expertly curated steam-artifact displays, including Puffing Billy's first-ever locomotive, the 3A, built in 1900. The railway also offers other attractive experiences such as a full-day, standalone journey to Lakeside or Gembrook, complete with pre-purchased picnic or lunch packs to be gathered from the visitor centre. 

A Puffing Billy train crosses the famous Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge near Belgrave in the Dandenong Ranges

Excursion trains depart at the following times:

Friday - Saturday
10:00 am - Belgrave to Lakeside
11:00 am - Belgrave to Lakeside
12:30 pm - Belgrave to Lakeside

Sunday
10:00am - Belgrave to Lakeside
11:00 am - Belgrave to Lakeside
12:30 pm - Belgrave to Lakeside

Monday - Thursday
11:00 am - Belgrave to Lakeside

Sitting-on-the-sills trains run between Belgrave and Lakeside. Children on the sills must be under adult supervision (one adult per two children) at all times. For more information, head over to https://puffingbilly.com.au/visit-us/sitting-on-our-carriage-sills/

The History of Puffing Billy Railway

Puffing Billy is located between the famous regions of the Yarra Valley, Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula. The line opened in 1900 mainly to service the local farming and timber community in the area. It takes passengers through some of the most characteristic and iconic landscapes that have a settlement history in Australia. In the 20th century, the line helped open up access to remote areas in Victoria providing many small townships with essential resources. Today, this historic train route from Belgrave passes through the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne, crossing towns such as Menzies Creek, Emerald, Lakeside and Cockatoo before terminating at Gembrook—offering landscapes very different from the ones you may see in the environs of Melbourne.


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