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(AUS) Puffing Billy Railway 26/2

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G'day all.

I was up on a conductor run on the 26/2 and took a few pictures.


Puffing Billy is a heratige tourist railway that is 40KM East of Melbourne at the terminus of the Belgrave line. The line itself was one of four experimental 2ft 6in lines.

The four lines were:

Wangaratta to Whitfield

Upper Ferntree Gully to Gembrook

Colac to Beech Forest

Moe to Walhalla


The Upper Fentree Gully to Gembrook line was opened in 1900 until 1954 where a landslide between Selby and Menzies Creek gave the VR the chance to open the line. In 1954 a number of special trains were rain between Upper FT Gully and Belgrave to say farewell to the train. The sucess of these trains lead to the formation on the Puffing Billy Preservation Society in 1955. With trains running until 1958 when the VR decided to Guage convert the line between Upper FTG and Belgrave. The line reopened between Belgrave and Menzies Creek with the landslide bypassed.

Three years later the line to Emerald was reopened and in 1975 the line to lakeside was opened. Finally in 1998 the line to Gembrook was reopened.


Sitting in the platform at Belgrave is the number 11 pass. Or if you rather the 10:30 to Lakeside. We nickname it the shuttle. The 10:30 this morning has an additional 6 cars attached on the back end. In the shot you can see pre and post preservation NBH cars. Anything numbered beyond 15 is a post preservation car and anything before 15 is one of the original. In the middle you can see 26NAC. It started out life as 2NAB before being modified to 26NB. When it entered preservation a guards van was placed in the rear compartment. Hence the C at the end of the code.


Here we see the preserved next train board. On the list is Menzies Creek, Emerald, Lakeside, Cockatoo, Gembrook, Special and NOT GOING.


This is one of a few bits on the railway which are not native. These are former Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Company cars and were orignally 3ft 6in. 4 of these cars were purchased in 1965-66 and were originally classed NBL before being reclassed NAL for use as a VIP car. Nowdays ther 4 cars are used as lunch train vehicles.


You saw below the Lakeside sign another which said "Connects with Gembrook train" Well heres some other ones. The smaller ones are for the Next train sign and the larger ones are for the sign outside.


Meanwhile at the front end of the train 14A has coupled up. The NA class were the mainstay of the Narrow Guage lines. 17 were built. The first two of the class were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works There other 15 were assembled in the Newport Workshops. 14A was built in 1914. Meanwhile in the background the other type of loco used on the Narrow Guage lines. G42. Two G class locos were built (41 and 42). The Gs never saw usage on the Belgrave line. It's only one of few(or the only) Garratt locomotive in use in Australia. Currently 4 NA class locomotives are preserved.


It's nearly departure time. Because the train is 16 cars long the NA can't do it on its own the train is a double header. G42 is up the front and ready to help 14. Around near the crossing DH 5 is stabled. DH 5 is originally from Queensland Rail and spent most of it's life on QR's 3ft 6 tracks. Before being sold to another operator. PBR bought it a couple years and guage converted it to 2ft 6. It sees it most usage on Fire ban day. PBR has two DH locos( DH5 and DH31(formally DH59). Along with a former Tasmanian V class locomotive which has been renumbered D21.


Up on the hill to the yard is part of the Gembrook consist. In the middle of it has 1NB. This car was one of the first built and was built in 1899.


Departing Belgrave. Passing by the level crossing activation board and automatic signal L1379. This is the only auto on the railway which can show caution. The reason for the auto is to prevent the crossing for activating. Many other stations have an auto for the same reason.


Passing over the famous monbulk trestle bridge.


Arriving at Menzies Creek. This would be the most signalled location on the railway. It boasts a 14 lever signal box. Here we are passing in inner home signal. This signal has calling on lights for each route. At Menzies Creek 42 and the rear 6 cars were taken off and returned to Belgrave.


Here at lakeside. The train is currently in PL2 and we are waiting for the Gembrook train from Belgrave to arrive.


11NBHC at the rear of the train. 11 is one of the original 15 NBH cars. This one has a guards van attached.


14A awaits departure.


8A is on today's Gembrook and departs Lakeside.


Going around what's called Superman Corner on the way back to Belgrave.


Departing Emerald. Here's another of the automatics. Unlike Belgrave where the auto stays red after it's passed it these return to green after the train has passed the level crossing activation point for the other direction. It's no unsafe because the railway used staff and ticket safeworking.


Going down the hill towards Clematis.


Passing Clematis. Here a NMM cattle wagon is parked.


Arriving at Menzies Creek PL1 is G42 with the Lunch train.


I mentioned earlier about D21. Well here it is with a NQR wagons. These NQR wagons were converted into pass cars. Two of them were to be attached to the front of the 2:30 Shuttle.


Here is the home signal at Belgrave with disc for the east loop. Near DH5 is one of 3 trollies which are used for track patrol and fire patrol. On the day it was 34c and the fire risk was Very High.


Passing the outer home at Lakeside.


The inner home. The top signal is for PL2 and the bottom is for PL1.


Waiting for us at lakeside was the Gembrook train.

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