On Sunday 3 October 2010 the Climax Locomotive Restoration Committee of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society ran a special train from Belgrave to Gembrook, with the intention of trying to recreate the atmosphere of a 1920s Gembrook mixed train. The event was a fund-raiser for the restoration of Climax locomotive 1694 and was fully booked with over 80 passengers. It was hauled by black NA locomotive 8A.

The passengers were all given a handout which was designed to help transport them to the era of the 1920s. Judging by the front cover of the handout the trip had been originally scheduled for Wednesday 3 October 1928, and rescheduled for Sunday 3 October 2010.

This event coincided with another event organised by the Puffing Billy Railway—an "Open Day" which saw a number of special activities between Belgrave and Emerald, including the opening of the workshops at both locations.

As part of the Open Day, the Railway Museum at Menzies Creek put on a number of special displays.

To respect the 1920s theme of the event, almost all of the photographs here are monochrome, and they are taken at places where there is not too much evidence of objects of post-1920s vintage! The few that are in colour have been adjusted to give the Autochrome effect.

Autochrome plates were the only practical method of colour photography available to amateurs in the 1920s. They required long (tripod-mounted) exposures, and were expensive. They were sold in boxes of four, and our photographer today seems to have used a whole box!

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Locomotive 8A and its train approaching Bridge 5, the Monbulk Creek bridge between Belgrave and Selby.

8A ventures on to Bridge 5. The first vehicle on the train, an NQR truck has a varied load including crates of tractor parts, oil drums, milk cans, a harrow, and a plough.

Crossing bridge 5. Shunting at Menzies Creek and Clematis will see the train gradually get longer.

At Menzies Creek.


Looks as if a load of sawn timber has just brought in to Menzies Creek by the former Ali Shan Railway (Taiwan) Shay locomotive. Very odd! - there is no record of there ever having been a timber tramway at Menzies Creek.

A close-up of the Ali Shan Shay locomotive. Unfortunately it does not run, but it certainly looked good, and the museum team are to be commended for the excellent location they chose to display it on this day.

Behind the Shay was this load of timber on two restored ex-Tyers Valley Tramway timber bogies. It is an excellent restoration with a much careful attention to detail.

Crossing bridge 8 between Wright and Cockatoo.

NA class locomotive 8A at Cockatoo.

The train at Cockatoo.

A little shunting at Cockatoo.

Taking water at Cockatoo, prior to tackling the long 1 in 30 grade into Gembrook.

After a good spit-roast lunch at Gembrook, the passengers were entertained by locomotive 8A as it sorted the train into the correct order for the return journey.

Shunting complete, the train is ready to depart from the Gembrook "Heritage" station.

A local has come to the station in his brand new Chevrolet car.

More shunting at Cockatoo on the return journey.

Shunting at Cockatoo.

Shunting at Cockatoo.

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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford who may be contacted by email at: frank.stamford@bigpond.com

Last updated: 2 April 2016