Case Study – Puffing Billy.

01 Aug 2023

Watch the project video here


Puffing Billy



Project Details

Puffing Billy is Australia’s premier preserved steam railway. Located in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges and only one-hour east of Melbourne. Whether it’s energetic adventure, a touch of nostalgia or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone at Puffing Billy Railway.

Built in 1900 to serve the local communities that lived in the hills, carrying anything from passengers to timber, livestock, potatoes and plants, the railway is now a major tourist attraction that invites visitors to come and experience a century old tradition every day of the year, except Christmas Day, thanks to the tireless efforts of more than 300 volunteers.

Puffing Billy Railway has experienced unprecedented growth in patronage over the past five years, driven largely by the expanding international tourist market in Victoria. The railway boasts the highest patronage of any narrow-gauge steam heritage railway in the world that is a volunteer-based, not-for-profit operation. More than 487,000 people flocked to Puffing Billy last financial year, with 64 per cent of patrons coming from overseas.

Classic was engaged to supply and install tactile indicators at Puffing Billy Stations, including the Belgrave and Lakeside platforms. The installation of warning (hazard) tactiles helps to keep passengers safe and allows access to those with low or impaired vision. The placement of the tactiles helping them to navigate the surroundings safely and confidently. The tactiles also act as a warning that the edge of the platform is nearby.

To ensure an efficient and high quality install, our team utilised a drilling rig, enabling them to drill 12 holes at a time. The team then places the tactile indicators into the predrilled holes. Classic installed approximately 176m of tactiles along the Belgrave platform and 310m on the Lakeside platform. Check out the video above to see the drilling rig in action! 

The project did have its challenges too, with a number of wet, rainy days. However, this did not deter the Classic team, who persisted and completed the job to our usual high standard. Puffing Billy is one of many transport projects Classic has been involved in, our products featuring on many train platforms and station stairs across Australia. Ensuring better shared spaces and easy access for all train users.

CAG Key Deliverables

Classic Architectural Group supplied tactiles for Belgrave and Lakeside and platforms.

LocationDandenong Ranges, VIC
ClientPuffing Billy
Completion DateJuly 2023

Key Stats

  • Puffing Billy Railway was built to serve at the turn of the century and is a genuine relic of our more leisurely days.
  • The railway is the major survivor of four experimental lines used to develop rural areas in the early 1900s.
  • The railway is 116 years old.
  • It survived a landslide but was shut down anyway, 30,000 people turned out to say goodbye to Puffing Billy in 1954.
  • Volunteers with the blessings of the Victorian State Government and the assistance of the Citizens’ Military Forces, by-passed the landslide and reopened the line from Belgrave to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and finally to Gembrook in October 1998.
  • It’s possible to ride the Puffing Billy steam train in either direction, but most passengers start at Belgrave Station. From there, i25 kilometres or 1 hour and 50 minutes one-way to Gembrook Station, with passage over the Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge and stops at Menzies Creek, Emerald, Lakeside, and Cockatoo.
  • More than 487,000 people flocked to Puffing Billy last financial year, with 64 per cent of patrons coming from overseas.

Supplied and Installed


  • Classic Tredfx PH41P-RAIL

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