A number of heritage railways and tramways have been established throughout Victoria along closed lines to preserve rail history and to operate as tourist attractions. Some also feature museums where the public can rediscover the history of rail transport.
Visitors can experience the era of bush sawmills and tramways in the Rubicon Forest during the early 1900s. Enjoy a ride on a steam locomotive, view an extensive collection of industrial rolling stock and visit the museum which showcases exhibits relating to the timber logging industry.
Take a 4 kilometre trip on Bendigo's vintage Talking Tram with its crafted seats, stain glassed features and intricate workmanship. The journey passes a number of attractions including the Alexandra Fountain, Sacred Heart Cathedral and Lake Weeroona. Also visit the tram museum situated at Australia's oldest operating tram depot and workshop.
Located west of Yea in the Tallarook Ranges, take a scenic journey on the steep zig zag railway line, visit the steam engine museum and enjoy refreshments at the kiosk.www.facebook.com
Experience a bygone era with a steam or heritage diesel train ride on a restored section of the old line between Moorooduc and Mornington.www.morningtonrailway.org.au
For a taste of yesteryear, step aboard a restored cable tram for a 7 kilometre journey along Portland's scenic foreshore and enjoy beach and harbour views. Hop on or off at various attractions along the way including the botanic gardens, World War 2 lookout tower, the Powerhouse Car Museum and Maritime Discovery Centre. At the cable tram depot is a museum which showcases local items of history, a model train display and a huge collection of gemstones.
A century-old steam train which runs on its original scenic mountain track through lush fern gullies, forests and farmland between Belgrave, Menzies Creek, Emerald, Cockatoo and Gembrook. At Lakeside is a state-of-the-art visitor centre which includes a large cafe, gift shop and a gallery of steam machinery and relics. There is also a historic museum at Menzies Creek which houses rare operational steam and diesel locomotives.www.puffingbilly.com.au
This tourist railway runs along a 2 kilometre section of track on the old Meringur branch line, situated just south of the Red Cliffs township. 25 minute trips on the authentic steam train are available approximately once a month.
Step aboard an authentic heritage steam train on a journey between historic Maldon and Castlemaine, through forests and former goldmining areas. A first class carriage is available, recreating an era of elegance and decadence with an open lounge and fully equipped bar.www.vgr.com.au
Ride the Walhalla Goldfields Railway through the spectacular Stringers Creek Gorge. The train line passes six large trestle bridges that criss-cross the gorge in an effort to find anchorage for each bridge abutment. The journey follows Stringers Creek to where it joins the Thomson River, across the historic Thomson River Bridge. Explore the area or enjoy a picnic at Thomson Station before returning to Walhalla.
Re-live the days of the golden 1950s as you travel on a historic Walker RM22 railmotor from Healesville to the iconic tunnel near the Tarrawarra Winery. Take in the spectacular scenery and wildlife of the beautiful Yarra Valley on this 9 kilometre round trip.
Steamrail offer heritage steam and diesel train trips around Melbourne and through Victoria, including tours to and from Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Echuca, Geelong, Maldon, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Traralgon. Their fleet includes around 30 carriages which date back to the early 1900s. Step aboard and be transported back in time!