Located approximately 1 hour from Sydney CBD in the lower Blue Mountains town of Valley Heights, the museum opens twice a month on a Sunday, thanks to a large enthusiastic group of volunteers.
We've been to quite a few transport museums now with the kids. You can read more about our adventures to the Sydney Bus Museum and the Bulli Black Diamond Museum and Heritage Centre here on WeekendNotes. They tend to be run by friendly volunteers. But nothing can compare with the enthusiasm and friendliness that greets you at the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot and Heritage Museum. The volunteers are everywhere and just so excited to be there that you can't help but join in with their jovial mood.
Each open day the museum runs either a steam train or steam tram and offers unlimited trips on them with museum entry. While the steam tram is packed with character and sure to delight, if you are particularly after a steam train trip, check the website for a date with "Valley Heights Mixed rides".
The train trip is short and ideal if you are worried about young ones who might get restless on a longer one. The train takes you from the station at the museum, along the service line, and then backs up for a view of the historic coal stage where steam trains would stock up on coal for the rest of their journey. The train then backtracks and returns to the museum station.
The working steam train that provides unlimited rides with entry to the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum
I would recommend going for a ride as soon as you arrive at the museum - we had an enthusiastic train conductor who not only provided lots of laughs and smiles but also gave a crucial history lesson on the locomotive depot that made for a great introduction to the museum.
The interior of the Valley Heights Mixed passenger carriage
The train was pulled by a real-life Thomas the Tank Engine style steam train - without the smiley face and blue livery - but none-the-less a photo op for fans.
Each train museum is different, and the focus of the Valley Heights museum is to preserve and educate people on the importance of the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot to the Blue Mountains train line, particularly in the days of steam.
Like most train museums, you can see old trains and carriages, climb into train cabins, and view lots of train memorabilia both indoors and outdoors. The museum has a lovely collection of picturesque train paintings that we've not seen elsewhere.
Trains on show at the Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum roundhouse
You can bring your own lunch and use the picnic facilities provided at the museum or buy sandwiches, pies and drinks from the museum cafe. The museum even has a coffee shop style coffee machine and can make you a barista style coffee.
There is also a range of souvenirs to tempt you on your way out.