The Gembrook Railway was an 18 mile (29 km) long 2 ft 6 in gauge railway running between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook, in Victoria, Australia.

The railway was opened on 18 December 1900, and closed in April 1954.

The first three miles, from Upper Ferntree Gully to Belgrave, was converted to 5 ft 3 in gauge and electrified in 1962, and now forms part of the Melbourne suburban train system.

The Puffing Billy Preservation Society (PBPS) was formed in 1955, with the object of preserving and re-opening the railway beyond Belgrave. The PBPS restored the railway to Gembrook in four stages, between 1962 and 1998.

The Puffing Billy Railway's official website can be found here.


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Puffing Billy in the 1950s

A small selection of photographs taken in 1954, 1955 and 1958, showing train operations between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave, and some of the stations beyond.

Gembrook 1920s mixed train

On Sunday 3 October 2010 the Climax Locomotive Restoration Committee of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society ran a special train from Belgrave to Gembrook to recreate the atmosphere of a regular 1920s mixed train on the Gembrook line.

Climax locomotive No.1694

The Puffing Billy Railway's Class B 25 ton Climax locomotive is one of only 19 Climax locomotives which survive worldwide, only about four of which are currently operational. It is the only one known to have been built to 2 ft 6 in gauge.

Busy morning – 22 September 2013 – Climax No.1694 and others

On 22 September 2013 Climax No.1694 ran a special train from Belgrave to Menzies Creek as a "thank you" to those involved in its restoration. On the same day NA locomotives 6A and 8A, and Beyer Garratt G42 were involved in running the regular services. This gave some interesting photographic opportunities as seen in this group of pictures.

Fiftieth Anniversary of Beech Forest closure — 30 June 2012 & 30 June 1962

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of the Beech Forest Railway, on 30 June 2012 locomotive G42 ran the regular Gembrook train which was extended to 16 cars. Photographs of that event, and of the actual last train to Beech Forest fifty years earlier can be seen here.

G42 - 100 years of Garratt locomotives

A special train was run on 16 August 2009 from Belgrave to Cockatoo to celebrate 100 years of Garratt locomotives in Australia

Cockatoo cross

Photographs of two trains crossing at Cockatoo station, 4 January 2009. The locomotives are 7A and 8A.

Locomotive 7A at Walhalla — 29 May 2010

As part of the centenary celebrations of the opening of the Moe — Walhalla Railway, locomotive 7A made a visit there for a weekend of special trains. For the occasion it wore 9A's number plates. 9A was cut up in 1954.

Gasworks Locomotive - John Benn

Couillet 0-4-0T builder's number 861 of 1886 rebuilt as a 2-4-2ST

Gasworks Locomotive - Carbon

Couillet 0-4-0T builder's number 986 of 1889

Gasworks Locomotive - Sir John Grice

Peckett 0-4-0ST builder's number 1711 of 1926

Locomotive D21 - maiden voyage

Views of D21 on its first day in revenue service, 16 January 1987

Locomotive DH31

Various views of the Puffing Billy Railways largest non-steam locomotive.


Puffing Billy Railway: official website


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All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford who may be contacted by email at:

Last updated: 26 June 2017