NA locomotive 3A crosses bridge No.1, just beyond the main road crossing at Upper Ferntree Gully, bound for Belgrave, January 1955.

This page includes the first photographs I ever took, just prior to my tenth birthday. Those dated 1954 and 1955 were taken with a Box Brownie D model, using 620 size film.

Those taken in 1958 were taken with an Ansco folding bellows camera dating from 1912, using 120 size film (probably Ilford FP3 which I preferred).

It was a great leap forward from the Box Brownie, having shutter speeds of 1 second to 1/300 second, and an f4.5 Anastigmat lens. Focusing and exposure was entirely manual of course, and had to be estimated.

It was a good camera to learn techniques with, but for one problem. It had an intermittent light leak which affected the foreground of many pictures towards the corners.

Two of the colour pictures on this page were taken with that camera, on Agfacolor negative film. They suffered with the light leak problem, but thanks to the wonders of Adobe PhotoShop I have been able to disguise the problem. The other three colour pictures were taken on 620 size Anscochrome transparency film in the Box Brownie!

That venture into colour was an experiment. Colour film was not outrageously expensive at the time, but to get prints from negatives cost more than fourteen times the price of black and white prints. From transparencies they were even more expensive.


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NA class loco 3A being prepared for the Young Sun special trains on 27 December 1954, at the Upper Ferntree Gully coal stage.

Close up of the loco above, NA class 3A. (This is a cruel enlargement of a portion of a Box Brownie negative.)

NA loco at Upper Ferntree Gully station c.1958

NA locomotive 7A at Upper Ferntree Gully station, c.1957, with a 5ft 3in (1600 mm) gauge suburban electric train on the other side of the island platform, at a time when suburban trains still provided first and second class accommodation.

NA loco 6A at UFTG last day of operation

NA locomotive 6A at the same location on the last day of narrow gauge operations out of Upper Ferntree Gully on 23 February 1958.

The train blasts its way up the relentless 1 in 30 grade out of Upper Ferntree Gully station bound for Belgrave. In a few minutes the passengers will be hearing the exhaust of the hard-pressed loco echoing across the valley. An unforgettable experience for those of us lucky enough to have heard it. 27 December 1954.

NA loco 6A banking train out of UFTG

On the last day of operation between Upper Fentree Gully and Belgrave seven return trips were run, hauled alternately by 7A and 6A. Each train consisted of twelve cars and 5,200 passengers were carried. The fifth train of the day was the most crowded with about 1,200 passengers on board. In the photograph above we see 6A banking the train in the rear as it stormed up the 1 in 30 grade out of Upper Ferntree Gully. 6A dropped off the train after the main road crossing, but 7A was unable to handle it alone, and had to set back into the station and detach two cars. The seventh and last train of the day arrived back at Upper Ferntree Gully at 7.50pm which which would have been in near darkness as there was no daylight saving at that time. (Information on the last day of operation from E.A.Downs, Speed Limit 20)

A further series of trains ran on weekends during January 1955. This fire patrol trolley is following one of them across Bridge No.1 just beyond the main road crossing at Upper Ferntree Gully. The train it was following is shown in the left sidebar, crossing the same bridge.

Train approaching Upwey Christmas New Year 1954-55

Train approaching Upwey station, passing under Bridge No.2, late December 1954 or early January 1955 hauled by 3A. These were advertised as farewell to Puffing Billy trips and attracted a lot of attention, hence the crowd of spectators on the bridge. Far from being a farewell, these trips were laying the foundations that lead to the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society.

Train approaching Upwey station under Bridge No.2, in 1957 or early 1958. (Ansochrome transparency film)

Up Upwey way! 3A heads a train entering Upwey station, January 1955.

At Upwey, locomotive 7A, in 1957 or 1958. (Anscochrome transparency film).

A Belgrave bound train between Tecoma and Belgrave, January 1955.

Train pproaching Belgrave station, 1957 or early 1958. (Anscochrome transparency film)

In January 1958 a Belgrave to Upper Ferntree Gully train headed by NA locomotive 7A approaches Upwey station crossing Bridge No.3 over Ferny Creek, between the Glenfern Road and Main Road crossings. Within about four weeks narrow gauge operations on this section would come to an end. (Agfacolor negative film)


Upper Ferntree Gully station

Upper Ferntree Gully station, narrow gauge side, c.1955.

Upwey station

Upwey station, c.1955.

Tecoma station

Tecoma staion, c.1955.

Belgrave station

Belgrave station, c.1955.

Belgrave station close up

A close up view of Belgrave station, c.1955. The station basically consisted of a couple of standard VR portable buildings, with an extended verandah on the eastern side to give increased shelter for waiting crowds. On its western side in front of the telephone pole it had a large ugly advertising hoarding.

Meanwhile the line beyond Belgrave slumbered. Selby station in 1958.

Menzies Creek Station

Menzies Creek station, c.1955

Clematis station

Clematis station, c.1955.

Emerald station

Emerald station, c.1955.

Nobelius Siding

Nobelius Siding, c.1955. The packing shed was still being used by the remnants of Nobelius Nursery.

Nobelius station

Nobelius station, c.1955.

Lakeside station

Lakeside station, c. 1955.

Lakeside staition notice

Thanks to the wonders of negative scanners and Adobe PhotoShop I was able to decipher most of the text on the NOTICE at Lakeside station. I think the last line is correct, but the text was difficult to decipher and was very weathered. And the last word on the third line really was in smaller text than the rest of that line!

Lakeside station January 1958. The intending passenger waving the red flag to stop the next train does not know that he will be waiting over 17 years for its arrival, but it won't need a red flag to stop it. Lakeside would become the terminus of the line from 1975 to 1998. (Agfacolor negative film)

Wright station, April 1958

Cockatoo station

Cockatoo station, c.1960.

Fielder station

Fielder station, c,1955.

Gembrook station in 1958. (This was taken on Agfacolor negative film, but it looks better in black and white!)

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

Last updated: 18 September 2017