Friday, August 25, 2017

Lunch at Gembrook

The Ranges Hotel, Gembrook, opposite the Puffing Billy terminus.


It seemed a car club of owners of Mazda MX5s had turned up for lunch. We might never get a meal. There were more cars around in the side street and the car park. Our Hairdresser Friend has a Mazda MX5 with a soft top. I sent her the photo of them all lined up. 


I should have taken this on an angle as it is one very long sausage dog.


The interior is a an interesting mix of old, original and modern. I expect the hotel could seat one hundred or more for a meal in various areas. It was almost full for Sunday lunch when a few more people arrived on the Puffing Billy train to dine.


Main courses were mostly up near the $30 mark, which is a bit on the expensive side for a pub, but the food was fine and the many staff friendly and helpful. There was an Aga in one spot, and I just had to walk past it to see if it was alight. It was, and nice and warm.




After lunch I wandered across the road to the station and lucked it just as Puffing Billy was being shunted. 




The locomotive is an N Class narrow gauge, at times called 'Old Polly', 'Hissin' Jinnies' and 'Coffee Pot'. She is one of an original fleet of 17 Baldwin locomotives, with the first two built in Philadelphia, US, and the remainder built at our own Newport Workshops between 1898 and 1915. She is a rather pretty little engine. 


What is the pit for? Adjusting the train brakes? 


I think she is being 'fed and watered'.


In contrast to Haddock's very nicely made steam train video in the picturesque Cumbrian countryside of England, mine are very amateur.

Lots of steam, 9 seconds


Moving to water tank and coal store, 45 seconds


Moving the carriages out of the way before detaching the locomotive, 60 seconds


I am often asked what is my interest in trains and trams, and to a lesser extent buses. I am not a train or tram nerd. I believe in public transport and I enjoy using it. Trains and trams transformed our cities to be what they are now. The social, personal and work impact of them in the 1800s changed city life, and country life for that matter, like nothing else had, and only motor cars since have changed society more.

24 comments:

  1. wow great place but the red car is my favourite

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, I prefer the car behind the red one. But any would do.

      Delete
  2. Seems like a grand place to eat at. Nothing like nice food and a great walk thereafter. Greeting to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blogoratti, helped by it being a very nice day.

      Delete
  3. Love that first puffing Billy video in particular. The sound is like nothing else...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, I recently realised that different engines make very different sounds and rhythms.

      Delete
  4. Love those videos Andrew. Puffing Billy is one of the gems of our area. It's years since we went on her but I still think we may might go again some time. Don't think I'll be able to get my legs over the side of the carriage tho 😊

    Cathy @ Still Waters


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy, yes, you are just past the legs out the window stage. I like a short train ride but of course it is difficult to go one or two stations and get a train back.

      Delete
  5. Really interesting, Andrew. Thank you.

    We still hear a steam train (I have no idea or interest in what kind) go by every Sunday here. I gather a certain group of people get all excited by the idea of a ride in them.

    But since I spent the first couple of years of my working life travelling to and from work having to protect my dress from bits of coal/coke with a scarf, I have had all the steam train travel I need in my life. But your little adventure did sound a lot more interesting than mine, I have to say.

    Cheers, mate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rozzie, that would be the Hotham Valley Railway. I don't know anything about it. I must follow that up. I get your point about soot and cinders. Many a woman cursed on washing day that they lived next door to a railway line. Note, I always say it is better to view steam trains than travel on them.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous4:08 pm

    Each year a steam train travels up the Hurstbridge Line to the Wattle Festival at Hurstbridge, which is on this coming Sunday. I feel a little shiver of excitement as I hear the train trundling along the tracks and hear the whistle. I'm not sure when it will go up there this year, as the line is closed closer to the city for level crossing works I think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RJ, I have always wanted to make the Hurstbridge trip on Wattle Festival day, but this year, perhaps it is not happening, and I am working anyway. Wattle and Festival not withstanding, it is a really nice train trip to Hurstbridge, so do it if you haven't already.

      Delete
  7. Nice videos, I like Puffing Billy even though I have never had a ride. Nice to have a good lunch too. Trains transformed us and now big eighteen wheelers have taken over and are ruining the roads while country towns die because the trains no longer go there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, lordy, I so agree with you. Yes, the trucks break up the roads, and what is spent on the repair could subsidise country trains and a train makes a town, even if underused. It is not simple dollars and cents, it complicated dollars and cents and value to society.

      Delete
  8. The last time I went on the Puffing Billy was on a family holiday to Victoria when I was a kid. I might have to borrow my nieces to relive the experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should. The nieces will enjoy it but make sure you pick a nice day weatherwise.

      Delete
  9. Those steam engines must seem so exotic to youngsters nowadays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe true Victor, but we are old and not seen as exotic by youngsters. Just old.....

      Delete
  10. That looks like a fun place to visit.

    I'd hate to be running a restaurant these days...the overheads must be astronomical...starting off with the power prices! Alone they would be enough to make one think more than twice about going into the business. A major, major expense before food costs, wages, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, it is something I take notice of when in places like that. The standard of food was slightly above pub level and the price reflected that. It was a fair price. The staff make or break a place and the pub staff were a mix of a few older and mostly younger. They were all cheerful, friendly, competent and well trained. It was not a problem for Mother to have her John Dory fillets unbattered. Sunday lunch would be their busiest meal time, I think and it was busy but really well organised. There was a queue of about twenty people ordering lunch when we walked in but by the time we were seated the queue had gone and and we received our ordered meals in about 20 minutes. The drinks were pretty well bar prices. I can easily see how this is a successful business. Don't forget lighting and appliances such as fridges are so much more power efficient than they used to be. What really puzzled me was English pubs and how they turn out Sunday lunches all day to very few people at small cost and still stay in business, the ones that have survived that is.

      Delete
  11. Puffing Billy seems alive almost, like a tamed dragon or demon almost.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, yes, steam trains are dragon like. They hiss and spit and breath fire and smoke. Wonderful.

      Delete
  12. What a treat Andrew, there's something very relaxing about the sound of a train click-clacking along the tracks.. and then there's the steam ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, yes, I love the clickety clack, which you often don't get now because there aren't gaps in the tracks.

      Delete