The photographs are from the Public Transport Corporation: Photographic Collection of Railway Negatives available on the Public Records Office of Victoria website www.prov.vic.gov.au. Click here to search this collection.
Pakenham Up End Level crossing and Signal Bridge
VPRS 12800/P5, item S 1376
Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway level Crossing
VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5224
Cranbourne, South Gippsland Highway level crossing,
R class steam locomotive departing left side including derm and trailer
VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5222A
Berwick Station, Platform and Goods Shed
VPRS 12903/P1, item Box 027/08
We tend to think of this area as only producing agricultural and horticultural products but the rail had a key role in the expansion of the Wilson Quarry at Berwick as the Quarry supplied the ballast for the Sale line. The trains transported bricks to Melbourne in the 1880s from the five brick works at Officer and Jefferson’s brick works at Garfield. Later on, sand from Sidings near Bayles was also transported by rail in the 1920s and 1930s and in Cranbourne, two spur lines were built to the sand mines around the town.
The third influence of the Railways had on this region was on the Tourist Industry. An 1899 Guide Book to Upper Beaconsfield tells its readers of 'the reviving and restoring virtues of the Ranges' and talks about the scenic Gullies and Drives. There is also railway timetable information for trains to the Beaconsfield Railway Station and a note that trains are met daily by coach to transport holiday makers to the Hills.
Tooradin was known as a “Sportsman’s Paradise” in the 1880s due to the fishing, quail shooting on Quail Island, deer shooting and other typical pursuits of the time. Sadly, for Tooradin, the Tooradin Station was built some kilometres out of the town which was on the South Gippsland Highway. But visitors were once again met by a coach at the Station to take them to their “Sportsman’s Paradise” at Tooradin.
Finally, the most obvious connection that Railways had to the Tourist Industry is the Puffing Billy train. The train was popular with the locals from the start and also opened up the area to holiday makers and week-enders. Due to declining revenue the line was recommended for closure in 1936 however a public outcry kept the line open for goods. A landslide near Menzies Creek, in August 1953, blocked the line and it was announced that it would close permanently in mid 1954, but once again the public rallied. The Puffing Billy Preservation Society (P.B.P.S) was formed in 1955 and operated Puffing Billy trains between Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave until this part of the line was electrified. Work began to re-open the line beyond Belgrave by by-passing the land slide and laying new track and the Puffing Billy tourist line was officially opened to Menzies Creek in July 1962. Three years later in July 1965 Puffing Billy returned to Emerald, ten years later in 1975 to Lakeside and finally in October 1998 it returned to Gembrook. Puffing Billy has carried 8 million passengers since it re-opened in 1962 and is now a tourist destination in its own right.
Train narrow gauge, to excursion, Paradise , Gembrook
VPRS 12800/P1, item H 3075