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 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 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.
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 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, narrow gauge side, c.1955.
Upwey station, c.1955.
Tecoma staion, c.1955.
Belgrave station, c.1955.
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, c.1955
Clematis station, c.1955.
Emerald station, c.1955.
Nobelius Siding, c.1955. The packing shed was still being used by the remnants of Nobelius Nursery.
Nobelius station, c.1955.
Lakeside station, c. 1955.
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, c.1960.
Fielder station, c,1955.
Gembrook station in 1958. (This was taken on Agfacolor negative film, but it looks better in black and white!)
All photographs Copyright Frank Stamford who may be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 18 September 2017