Train whistle blowing makes a sleepy noise
Underneath their blankets go all the girls and boys

Rocking rolling riding out along the bay
All bound for Morningtown many miles away

Driver at the engine fireman rings the bell
Sand man swings the lantern to show that all is well

Rocking rolling riding out along the bay
All bound for Morningtown many miles away

I’m humming this old Seekers song to myself as I step onto the historic Puffing Billy Platform and it feels like I’ve just stepped back in time. Waiting on the tracks, steam billowing out of the funnel and gleaming like it was yesteryear is one of the original Steam engines ready to take passengers along the 25kms of track through the Dandenong Ranges up to Lakeside station. The line was originally opened in 1900 between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook and serviced farms and settlements in the Dandenong Ranges. The line was closed down in 1954 due to a landslide however the Puffing Billy Preservation Society sprang into action and re-opened the railway in 1962 to tourists. To date the railway has carried over 11 million passengers and is run almost entirely by volunteers – how amazing is that?!

~ Some of the amazing Puffing Billy Volunteers ~ 

Puffing Billy has rolled out the red carpet and today I’m being given the first class treatment in the Heritage Dining Carriage for a Steam and Cuisine Luncheon. The lovingly restored carriage is an opulent feast for the eyes and no detail has been overlooked. It was mesmerising gazing out of the authentic sash windows, sipping on a glass of wine and watching the world go by. The Steam and Cuisine Luncheon includes a lavish three course meal with a couple of options for entrée main and desert. I have to say that the Death by Chocolate desert was seriously GOOD! What a magical way to see the beautiful Dandenong Ranges and the perfect chance to spend an afternoon with that someone special.

Along with the Steam and Cuisine Luncheon there are plenty of other unique ways to experience Puffing Billy. You can book a themed dinner such as Dinner and Dance on Puffing Billy, Rhythm and Blues on Puffing Billy or my personal favourite; Murder on the Puffing Billy Express which is an intriguing murder mystery set in the 1920’s. I’ll be dragging my husband along to that one very soon!

DETAILS:

Location: Puffing Billy is located in the scenic town of Belgrave, VIC and is approximately 1 hour from Melbourne

Operates: The train operates daily (except for Victorian Public Holidays) with the first train of the day leaving from Belgrave at 10:30am. The Steam and Cuisine Luncheon operates daily and leaves Belgrave Station at 12:30pm and returns at 3:30pm (bookings are essential).

Website: www.puffingbilly.com.au