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:
- Alexandra Timber Tramway and Museum, which operates the Alexandra Timber Tramway.
- Geelong Steam Preservation Society, which operates The Bellarine Railway.
- The Bendigo Trust, which operates The Bendigo Tramways.
- The Central Highlands Tourist Railway, which operates The Daylesford Spa Country Railway.
- Mornington Railway Preservation Society, which operates The Mornington Railway.
- R707 Operations Inc, Vintage Rail Travel and the Locomotive Restoration Group.
- Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway
- South Gippsland Tourist Railway, which operates The South Gippsland Railway.
- Castlemaine and Maldon Railway Preservation Society, which operates The Victorian Goldfields Railway.
- Yarra Valley Railway (Healesville).
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.