Tourist and heritage railways

Tourist and heritage railways make a valuable contribution to the social, cultural and economic fabric of Victoria. The railways attract tourism, benefiting local economies and communities.

The railways are run by non-profit groups who are mainly volunteers and rely on strong community involvement and support.

These groups restore, preserve and operate historical or heritage trains and trams. The sector has a combined income of $16.5 million a year and is supported by 3,500 volunteers and 42 paid employees.


The Tourist and Heritage Railways Act 2010 sets out a regulatory framework to promote the long-term viability of tourist and heritage railways in Victoria.

The Act and the Regulations came into effect on 1 October 2011.

The Act applies to 17 tourist and heritage railway groups that currently operate in Victoria:

  • Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway

The groups will benefit from the Voluntary Registration Scheme laid out in the Act. This will give a voice to the Tourist and Heritage Railway sector.

The Act does not apply to Puffing Billy, which operates under its own legislation: the Emerald Tourist Railway Act 1977.