- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential Rail Trail
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- Rail Trail
- On Road
- Potential RT
- Other Trail
- Former Railway
- This railside path follows an existing broad-gauge suburban line and a former narrow-gauge one
- At Belgrave it finishes metres from the start of the restored Puffing Billy service to Gembrook and points in between
- From Heathmont you’ll travel through a variety of industrial and residential areas
- If you get tired on this trip, it’s easy to catch the train back
- There are many other shared paths and a number of excellent parks in the area
- The Puffing Billy narrow-gauge tourist railway from Belgrave to Gembrook
- Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail is another rail-side shared path that shadows the Puffing Billy route from Climatas to Gembrook
- Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
- Mt Dandenong Scenic Lookout
- Alfred Nicholas Gardens
Last updated: 10 November 2023
This trail runs beside the Belgrave suburban line from Heathmont, with a few station carparks to navigate along the way. From Upper Ferntree Gully, it follows the route of the Puffing Billy narrow-gauge railway, which was replaced with a straighter, broad-gauge electrified service as far as Belgrave in 1962. Puffing Billy now operates from there to Gembrook.
There is a reasonable climb into the Dandenong Ranges, with short on-road sections near Upwey and Tecoma and a steep section approaching Belgrave.
- Heathmont: Lena Grove (take Bedford Rd from Ringwood station), or Heathmont station carpark
- Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully and Upper Ferntree Gully stations have the trail running near or through their carparks
- Belgrave: Blacksmiths Way, behind the shops, is the top of the trail. Parking can be difficult when Puffing Billy is operating. Try Alexanders Carpark in Reynolds Lane or the Belgrave CFA carpark on Bayview Rd until the 640-space station carpark is completed
Heathmont to Ferntree Gully (9km)
- From the end of Lena Grove, the newest section of this rail-side shared path carries Heathmont Rail Trail signage. After Heathmont station, at Canterbury Rd, it switches to the other side of the railway corridor for the first of several times.
- It’s then a pleasant run downhill to where the Heathmont Rail Trail section ends near the Maroondah Nets stadium. A crushed granite path gets you through the carpark to a short section of the Dandenong Creek Trail before you get back to the railway line, go under it and bear right onto the (un-signed) main part of the Heathmont to Belgrave Trail.
- Bayswater station is 4km away and has parking and toilets (for Myki users) and a wide, shared path that crosses over the trenched railway lines. Bayswater Park is a nice detour on the left before that bridge, with public toilets, picnic facilities and play equipment. At Scoresby Rd you need to cross at the lights to Power Rd, diagonally opposite. The excellent handiwork of an asphalt paving machine starts shortly afterwards.
- At Boronia and Ferntree Gully stations, little provision has been made for trail users, with carparks and narrow footpaths to negotiate. The trail switches sides again at the latter town via a level crossing and pedestrian crossing.
- Heathmont, Bayswater, Boronia and Ferntree Gully all have a wide range of shops and good facilities.
Ferntree Gully to Belgrave (7km)
- As you continue climbing, the surroundings become leafier, the path gets rougher and the Dandenong Ranges start to tower above you. There are several options to get through Upper Ferntree Gully, where Puffing Billy used to start its run to Gembrook. There’s a shared path up and along Railway Ave and School Rd to a pedestrian crossing on Mt Dandenong Rd. There’s also a narrow gravel track from Railway Ave along Burwood Hwy to the same crossing point, plus a council recommended route using the Ferny Creek Trail on the other side of the highway (see map)
- The climb to Belgrave, where signs call it the Belgrave Rail Trail, is not without its challenges, with on-road sections at Upwey (from Main St to Glenfern Rd) and Tecoma (from Campbell St to McNicol Rd), but beyond there you get to travel along a couple of the curved embankments that the suburban trains have bypassed, and enjoy the regenerated bush
- Approaching Belgrave there’s a nasty little climb up to Blacksmiths Way from where you can exit into the shopping centre. Watch for the restrooms built between two shops on the station side of the retail strip
- Belgrave has a wide range of shops, cafes and an astrologer!
- You can continue to the Puffing Billy Railway Station by using the ramp to the Metro platform and then walking through to the PBR one. There is no direct connection to the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail
- Can’t stand climbing? Make your “up” run on the Belgrave train before hitting the trail back down towards town
For public transport options go to ‘GET AROUND’ below
Trail starts near Lena Grove, Heathmont 
Plinthed steam engine for the kids in Belgrave Park
Riding beside the railway at Bayswater 
Shared bridge over Forest Rd, Ferntree Gully, now has FRP grating surface 
Heading down from Ferntree Gully 
At Upper Fern Tree Gully the electric, broad-gauge trains finished (left side of station) and the narrow-gauge ones took over to Gembrook. A broad-gauge line to Belgrave was built in the early 1960s [Courtesy Puffing Billy Preservation Society]
Checking the view of Melbourne from Upper Ferntree Gully 
An old PBR embankment near Belgrave, now covered in ferns 
Blue strip leads visitors along Blacksmiths Way, Belgrave 
Being a branch line from Metro’s Lilydale service, you can catch a Ringwood or Lilydale train as far as Ringwood and ride along Bedford Rd to get to the start of the Belgrave trail, subject to level-crossing removal works. Some may prefer to catch a Belgrave train to the end of the line and then cruise back down to Heathmont or Ringwood from the Dandenong Ranges
Refer to the PTV web page for maps and timetables, or use the navigation app of your choice.
We acknowledge the Tableland Yidinji people, the traditional custodians of the land and waterways on which this rail-side path was built.
Rail Line History
Opened in 1900, this narrow-gauge (2’6″) line ran between Gembrook and Upper Ferntree Gully, where it connected with regular broad-gauge trains, and the little steam locomotive soon became known as Puffing Billy. The line mainly carried passengers, timber and potatoes and although it was cheaper to build than a regular one but the cost of transferring goods to broad-gauge wagons meant it never made a profit.
A landslide at Selby in 1953 prompted the line’s closure. The Puffing Billy Preservation Society was formed and persuaded Victorian Railways to reopen the narrow-gauge line to Belgrave for a weekend tourist service.
During the standardisation and electrification of the line to Belgrave in the early ’60s, volunteers worked to restore the disused and overgrown narrow-gauge line beyond there. A diversion was created near Selby, and Puffing Billy reopened from Belgrave to Menzies Creek in 1962, Emerald in 1965, Emerald Lake (Lakeside) in 1975 and, finally, Gembrook in 1998.