Victorian Stream Trains of Yesteryear
Flinders Street Station, 7.00 am on a cool Sunday spring morning.
Why on earth would anyone be here? The crowd is growing, an eclectic bunch, arriving in heavy jackets and big beanies, moving on the platform in an orderly manner taking their positions. Clutching blankets, bags and baskets, the chattering groups of families and friends mingle with the eager couples and the excited solos; many holding a huge variety of cameras in anticipation of the spectacle.
The distant noise of the tooting train brings soft murmurs to the those who wait.
The train is leaving Southern Cross Station and it’s on it way. It will be here soon.
Before it comes to view, a plume of steam rises high, dancing among the buildings and across the nearby peaceful Yarra. The murmurs become louder as words of delight are shared.
Those with cameras in hand take up the best spot for the best shot.
Around the curve and then straight ahead the mighty machine slowly comes into view. There is much excitement on the platform with lots of movement as the camera folk jostle for their photo op.
The Steam Train has arrived to take us all on a beautiful sightseeing tour of Gippsland – with a visit to Walhalla.
Now in full view, the majestic steam locomotive glides towards the station. Stand back!
The “oohs” and “aahs” of the awaiting passengers and the clicking of cameras is now overshadowed by the hissing of the train as it comes to a halt beside the platform.
It’s a beauty – the Snow Train. A beautifully restored locomotive hauling a variety of carriages from Melbourne to Gippsland. Who would have thought a journey through suburban Melbourne could create such crowds? As our journey took us through the south east suburbs and over the recently completed skyrail, locals stood alongside the line waving and we waved back in delight.
The pleasant rolling countryside soon came into view and continued through serene landscape dotted with farms and old laidback country towns. We opted for the Walhalla excursion and were soon travelling through the luscious rainforest climbing through the hills to the quaint former gold mining village of Walhalla where the early spring colours were on display. We wandered through the town of charming pubs, stores and rustic cottages; many of which now operate as bed and breakfasts. Yes, we must come back and stay the weekend.
The journey back was just as wonderful as we settled in the saloon bar where the fellow train enthusiasts shared stories of their wonderful day out.
Just one of the many steam train journeys you can experience here on our own doorstep.
Chugging through the wilderness
Perhaps a lesser-known trip for us Victorians is the historic West Coast Wilderness Railway in Tasmania https://www.wcwr.com.au/. A magical journey into Tasmania’s mining history travelling through ancient pristine rainforest.
The track runs for 41 kilometres between Queenstown and Regatta Point, Strahan, a duration of just over 40 minutes, passing through breath-taking scenery which can be only accessed by train. With regular stops enroute at historic stations, there’s the option to explore the area with an immersive rainforest walk, try your luck panning for gold, and indulge in wild honey tastings along with many great photo opportunities.
Onboard you have the option to choose two carriage types. The Heritage Carriages offer upholstered seating with snacks available for purchase along the way. Alternatively, the more luxurious Wilderness Carriages provide fully inclusive catering complimented with a glass of local sparkling wine upon boarding.
Who doesn’t love the romance an of old-fashioned train journey and a recall of their first Puffing Billy experience? It’s surprising to know many of these are right on doorstep, so why not jump aboard.
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