I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Family Steam Train Experience
The Victorian Goldfields Railway offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful day out, immersed in the charm of yesteryear with an unforgettable steam train experience, riding in magnificently restored authentic steam-era carriages through Central Victoria. And it's an activity that lends itself to the cooler winter months.
Victorian Goldfields Railway operate regular services between Maldon and Castlemaine using restored steam locomotives and rolling stock. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
VGR's 'normal timetable' comprises 10.30 AM and 2.45 PM departures from Maldon to Castlemaine return and midday departures from Castlemaine to Maldon return with a 2-hour stop-over in Maldon for lunch and to explore the town.
This normal timetable will operate throughout June on Sunday 2nd, Wednesday 5th, Sunday 9th, Wednesday 12th, Sunday 16th, Wednesday 19th, Sunday 23rd and Wednesday 26th.
On Saturday 15th June, services will depart Maldon for Castlemaine at 10.30 AM & 3.30 PM and depart Castlemaine to Maldon at Midday and 5 PM but without the lunch stop-over.
Maldon with its Railway Station and workshops is home to the Victorian Goldfields Railway. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
On Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June, the normal timetable will operate but with special activities for children on school holidays.
Return Excursion Fares cost Adults $50, Concession $45, Children (4-16 years) $20 and Families (2A 3C) $110.
Return First Class tickets cost Adults $70, Concession $65, Children (4-16 years) $65. There is no family concession for First Class fares.
One-way tickets are available and you have the option of boarding the train at either Maldon or Castlemaine.
The VGR also maintains a railways museum including locomotives, rolling stock and assorted memorabilia at its Maldon base. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
The Royal Train
Victoria's historic Royal Train will operate return services between Castlemaine and Maldon on Saturday 8th and Monday 10th of June and from Castlemaine to Bendigo return on Saturday 22nd June.
Royal Class tickets cost $110 return or $90 one-way and include High Tea served in the Avoca dining car.
Champagne Class tickets cost $75 return or $55 one way with complimentary sparkling wine and Belgian chocolate.
Maldon was one of Victoria's richest gold mining centres and was declared 'Australia's First Notable Town' in 1966 because of its overall historical and architectural importance. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Ales on Rails
VGR's very popular Ales on Rails experience, the ultimate beer, food and steam railway experience, will run on Saturday 15th June carrying passengers in style in 1920's vintage Club and Parlour cars.
En-route to Maldon guests will be served a range of specialty beers and light snacks, followed by a gourmet lunch, and more craft beer tastings, at Maldon's Kangaroo Hotel.
For non-beer drinker's local wines, cider and soft drinks are also available.
Ales on Rails departs Castlemaine Platform 3 at Midday and arrives back at 4.30 PM.
Numbers on the Ales on Rails experience are strictly limited. Bookings are essential and only available online via the VGR website.
Tickets cost $125 each. This is an 18-Years and over event and no concession fares are available.
You'll find Maldon's historic railway station in Hornsby Street, right on the outskirts of town. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Connecting VLine trains depart Melbourne (Southern Cross) at 10.22 AM and arrive back at Southern Cross at 6.20 PM.
VLine connections also depart Bendigo at 10.30 AM getting you back at 5.17 PM.
Castlemaine Railway Station is in Kennedy Street. VGR trains operate from Platform No.3.
Maldon Railway Station is in Hornsby Street, just off the Bendigo Road (C283) and immediately prior to the town's main shopping area.
Getting There …..
Castlemaine is 130-Kilometres northwest of Melbourne, about a 90-minute drive via the Calder Freeway/M79. Maldon is a further 19-kilometres northwest of Castlemaine, about a 20-minute drive via the Castlemaine-Maldon Road/C282.
VLine operate regular and efficient fast train services from Melbourne (Southern Cross) to Castlemaine on the Bendigo line. Travel time is just over 90-minutes.
Don't you miss the opportunity to get all steamed up in Maldon on-board the Victorian Goldfields Railways lovingly restored steam trains. Photo: Copyright Ian Gill / Footloose Media
Cost:Return Excursion Fare tickets cost Adults $50, Concession $45, Children (4-16 years) $20 and Families (2A and 3C) $110. See the website for First Class and other upgrades as well as special services and events.