Commissioners' Train

You are here: Home » Events & Dining » Commissioners' Train

Travel aboard a train hauled by Climax 1694 – Puffing Billy’s only wood fired locomotive and the only such locomotive operating in Australia. Go behind the scenes with workshop and museum inspections and enjoy morning tea and lunch.


Your Day | Belgrave - Menzies Creek - Emerald - Lakeside - Gembrook | Who were the Commissioners? | Locomotive Climax 1694

Your day starts at Puffing Billy's Belgrave station, where a tour of the railway's locomotive workshop is available from 8.00 am

The Commissioners’ Train will depart Belgrave for Menzies Creek at 9.00 am hauled by Climax Locomotive 1694

At Menzies Creek, you can disembark to view the progress on the new Puffing Billy Museum. Alternatively, watch the shunting operations when a NA locomotive will be included behind the Climax. The NA locomotive is the only class to have operated on the original Puffing Billy Line to Gembrook railway prior to closure in 1954, so it can legitimately be referred to as the only "true" Puffing Billy locomotive.
(Please note that due to upgrading of the museum, this inspection may be limited to external obseration only.) 

After a 30 minute break, the Commissioners' Train continues to Emerald station, double headed with the Climax and NA locomotive.

Climax Locomotive in running shed

In Emerald, you will enjoy morning tea, and there will be open house at the carriage workshops. Climax 1694 will detach and retire for the day during this stop.

After a 55 minute break, the NA locomotive will haul the train for the rest of the trip to Gembrook, with a stop at Lakeside to inspect the new Refreshment facilities and Passenger Service area. There will also be a brief stop at Cockatoo, a station still in the era of yesteryear.

Upon arrival at Gembrook, you'll be sure to enjoy our sumptuous spit roast followed by tea and coffee.

Kindly let us know upon booking, if you have any special dietary requirements (please note we can cater for vegetarians and coeliacs only). Please note that there will be no service of alcohol and that Puffing Billy is a Non-BYO venue. 

Puffing Billy carriages near Gembrook station

The Commissioners' Train will combine with the scheduled service for the return departure to Belgrave at 2:45 pm, arriving at 4:32 pm. This train will be double headed with NA Locomotives.

More about Puffing Billy's locomotives


The Climax Commissioners' Train will return in 2018 - watch this space!


Climax 1694 and 6A at Emerald

Photos courtesy of Dean Gifford, Karen Gunn and Michael Greenhill



Kindly ensure you advise us at least 72 hours prior to travel should you have a dietary requirements by contacting our Customer Service Centre on (03) 9757 0700. If booking online, please let us know in the "Notes" box when completing your booking.



The train stops in some locations where the terrain can be challenging and no platform is available.  As a result, we recommend passengers with mobility concerns remain on the train.  Should passengers decide to disembark the train, they do so at their own risk.

Passengers requiring wheelchair access must contact our Customer Service Centre on (03) 9757 0700 rather than book online. This way we can ensure that your needs can be accommodated.



To assist you when planning your visit to Puffing Billy Railway please browse our Plan Your Visit page.

To help you find accommodation in the Dandenong Ranges as well as other tourist attractions close to Puffing Billy, we have included a selection of useful links .


who were the commissioners?

Puffing Billy was operated by the former Victorian Railways (VR) after opening in 1900. The VR had a staff of many thousands at its peak around 1920-1930, and was run by a Board of Commissioners. One of the regular duties of the Commissioners was to keep a sharp eye on everything that was going on throughout the railway system, which they did by travelling around the state in what were known as 'Commissioners' Inspection Trains'. 
These were run independently of any regular timetables and trains and were staffed by the elite of VR employees – for example, the VR's top driver at any time was ranked as the 'Commissioners Driver' and only he was rostered to run the Commissioners' Trains on which the Chairman travelled. 
The aim of the Commissioners was to visit every railway station in Victoria over a year or so, inspect the facilities, converse with staff and address their concerns and to meet with members of local communities who may have had issues with the rail services in their towns. Frantic activity preceded the Commissioners' arrival, with staff (often only the SM at smaller stations) having a big spruce-up for presentation.
To commemorate these very special trains, Puffing Billy is proud to take our patrons on a tour of the raiiway to inspect our facilities - much like the Commissioners did back in the day!