1. Lena F

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    Gave 3 stars only because my toddler had enjoyed it. It was an exhausting experience, mainly due to confusion, loss of time, and unnecessarily charges by the staff members that had characterised this day!! Firstly, the signs leading to the car park are 2 separate signs, in 2 opposite directions…so leave yourself plenty of time to find your way from the carpark into the station. Then, at the counter, I asked for a ticket to Menzies Creek. The staff member had quoted me a price that was $16 more than what was listed on the web for this particular ticket. When I expressed my confusion at this, she confirmed that no, it is in fact the right price for this ticket. Being with an active toddler, I didn’t glance at the actual ticket until an hour later. When I did, I saw that she sold me a more expensive ticket to a much further destination than what I had requested :/. Thinking initially that our final stop is the Menzies Creek, we got off, had a lovely time walking around and decided it was time to leave :). Nice and early, as we planned. I approached the ‘milkbar’ staff to confirm the time of the return train…..the timetable on the web and on the main station stated “11:38am”, so I was quite stunned when their reply was: “1pm”. Huh?? They instructed to confirm with the conductor, who did indeed confirm the 1pm arrival, and that we can actually go much further. Well, with 1.5hrs to spare, and having already paid the extra $16 for this ticket, I thought we might as well keep going. Boring, unnecessary, repetitive and quite tiring, so if you’re travelling with young kids- consider going just to Menzies Creek and back!!! My 3yo, as much as he adores trains, was really tired by the end of this unplanned additional leg of the journey. The distance between the main stops felt like hours, and then you’re back to the main station, following their stupid sign to “The Puffing Billy carpark”, when you recall that there’s 2 of them, and sure enough the sign is leading you to the carpark where u didn’t park your car ;). Back you go… In short, my child had a fun time, but I really wish the staff had stuck to what the info online and on their main station stipulated in terms of both the fees and the timetable. What’s the point of planning your trip when it’s all over the place when you arrive?!?! • • •

  2. Steven Main

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    I have been a few times now I have two children 5 and 1. The staff at the ticket booths were slow, grumpy and used the wrong account on my credit card after I repeatedly instructed him. No apology or offer to correct his mistake.You can not buy tickets online… Instead you have to line up … In keeping with the historical train perhaps.Boarding the train is another mess. They have no seating and people with manners or children can find themselves on a carriage with no cover and / or no seats. The tickets are over sold and staff seem more concerned with packing people on than the enjoyment of passengers. Families with children were forced to stand for the entire journey on our carriage after paying $100??A good experience undermined by overpricing and service and staff that disappoint.Exception being John the station master who was polite and helpful.

  3. chris maybank

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    It was a childhood memory which first triggered my interest in a trip to the Dandenong Rangers while in Melbourne. We decided to make a day of it and book a lunch on Puffing Billy and a leisurely train journey along the picturesque line running from Belgrave to the beautiful Emerald Lake. We passed through magnificent tree fern forests framing expansive views over the Yarra Valley.As we sampled the Christmas in July menu. The three course meal was nice, similar to basic pub style fare, a little pricy, but due to the logistics and our friendly and chatty waiter Matt, cost was overlooked. If you’ve not booked a lunch, pack a picnic basket, but leave time for the short walk around the Emerald Lake, before climbing aboard for the return trip back to Belgrave. We had a happy day, blessed with sunny weather forJuly. Happy to recommend!

  4. Daniel M

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    I am a Disability Support Worker and my client used to love visiting the Puffing Billy, so I often took him there. On 3/4/13, my client and I were on the 11:10 train at Belgrave at 10:40 in the middle enclosed carriage, waiting for departure.At 11:05, the conductor opened the carriage door and then aggressively and rudely said, “I’m gonna have to get you to move your stuff and put your bag overhead because I need to fit more people on.”Now understand that we’d been there before everyone else, and we had done nothing wrong whatsoever, yet she ordered in an aggressive, disparaging manner.While I was repacking my client’s snack box into his bag, she came back in and ordered us aggressively and rudely again, stating, “I need you to move because I need to get two more people in.”Turning to my client, she forcibly yelled at him, “Move up.”Because my client is clearly disabled, he needs coactive assistance, so he didn’t move up immediately when she said.She repeated her order aggressively, to him, “Could you please move up?”She then asked me curtly and sarcastically, clearly with racial prejudice, “Does he understand English??”This racist, insensitive, bigoted comment was offensive, demeaning, devaluing and humiliating in front of the rest of the passengers. My client, who is non-verbal and vulnerable, was unable to reply to her disgraceful humiliating taunts.My client understands English very well. She should have had the sensitivity to understand that many travellers are disabled, just like many of their volunteers are. How dare she humiliate him in front of the rest of the passengers? Don’t disabled people have enough self-perception problems to deal with?I replied, “He’s disabled.”She continued trying to move him along the seat, but of course he wouldn’t move. Visibly hurt by what she said, I softly spoke to him – as a fellow human being – and prompted him to do so.The absence of respect and dignity in her manner was breathtaking. In fact, I have never witnessed such conduct toward my visibly disabled client. This incident ruined the trip for me but more so for my client who is a train buff. This costly event is always anticipated with delight by my client. At one point during the trip, he wept.I lodged a complaint to PB’s management, which was met with reassurances of an investigation. After a length period, I finally received a response, whereby management dismissed the complaint, and instead made underhanded, insulting statements regarding my client and his disability.What’s notable is that the staff person breached PB’s own policies, yet when I pointed this out, they didn’t even acknowledge my email.My client and I have not visited since.

  5. Sean Williams

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    Volunteers do such a great job. Wanting only for my kids to have a great time. Been going every trip to Melbourne since a kid myself.