What caught my attention was the fascinating name of this adorable steam engine. The name was clearly given because of the puffing noise this train makes as it traverses through the Dandenong ranges from the Belgrave station to the Gembrook station. To Australia, Puffing Billy is a historical icon and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. This century-old steam train was built to serve at the turn of the century and is a genuine relic of the more leisurely days. The railway is the major survivor of four experimental lines used to develop rural areas in the early 1900s. Puffing Billy Railway is now a major tourist attraction to all those who live in and come visiting to Melbourne.
Puffing Billy is managed by over 900 volunteers, and the energy and excitement brought in by the team is remarkable. The day I took a ride on the Puffing Billy, there was not a single empty seat on the train. The air on the platform was filled with excitement and cheer. The staff was dressed in their crisp blue uniforms all ready with their hats, flags and badges. As the train took off from the platform they waved farewell to all the passengers who sat in a unique "Puffing Billy" way i.e. with their legs over the window rails. The ride through the ranges was beautiful in the morning hours and the sights were straight out of a storybook and one, which no passenger will ever forget.
Puffing Billy offers several other delights like Jazz on Puffing Billy, Day out with Thomas, Murder on Puffing Billy, Santa's Special, Great train race, Weddings, Spring Gala and many others. You can either ride the entire rail or hop off at picturesque stops and visit the neighboring villages and towns, which have their own attractions or stop off for a picnic by the lake. There is a beautiful store at the station which stocks Puffing Billy toys and other souvenir items, which serve as a keepsake.