Circumnavigating Australia — Puffing Billy Departs Menzies Creek

Locomotive 8A

The segment we took aboard the Puffing Billy Railway was a short one. Taking a gander at the route map below, you can see we boarded at the Menzies Creek Railway Station (2). From there we proceeded to Belgrave Railway Station (1). If we had done the full route, we would have boarded at Gembrook (5) and made additional stops at Lakeside (4) and Emerald (3) before reaching Menzies Creek.

Puffing Billy Full Route

But we had other sights to see this day, so we contented ourselves with a journey that would last about 30 minutes (English)/30 minutes (metric). And, yes, that was an English vs. metric joke.

The Track Patrol — Not to be confused with The Rat Patrol

I’ve been on several narrow-gauge steam-powered trains in my day, and I rank Puffing Billy near the top — right up there next to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway that runs between Durango and Silverton in Colorado, although the scenario on the D&SNG edges out at least this particular segment we traveled on this day.

Puffing through the woodlands

But not by a lot, as evidenced by this great view of the train crossing the Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge:

Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge

Our carriage this day was an NBH, which I described in last Wednesday’s article. Here is a repeat of that explanation:

“These were NBH carriages. N stood for narrow-gauge, B meant the carriage was for second-class passengers, and H indicates usage for holiday traffic. From the Puffing Billy website:”

SECOND-CLASS EXCURSION CAR. The H was recognising their use for “Holiday” traffic. 15 of these cars were built in 1919 and numbered 1-15. Two more were built in 1981, and numbered 16 & 17. Two extended versions for wheelchair passengers were built in 1981 & 1983. These were numbered 51 & 52 – a separate number series due to the different type of vehicle.

Six, numbered 18-23, were built in 1997-98. These had steel frames, padded seats, and a wide “window sill”. At first glance they look the same as the previous NBHs. There are other minor construction differences due to the use of steel framing. 18NBH entered traffic 19/4/1997; 19NBH on 5/12/1997; 20NBH on 19/12/1997, the others added in 1998.

NBH Carriage

We’ll continue with this on Wednesday, but until then I’ll leave you with three more images:

Puffing Billy Locomotive 8A

Stoking the boiler

Locomotive 81 and NBH rolling stock pulling away from Menzies Creek

For more information:


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