Steam Rail Victoria, a group of volunteer steam train enthusiasts, brought a couple of trains up to Ballarat again this weekend.
Look at this beauty, made over 130 years ago, when trains for the vast network of state railways were made in Ballarat's Phoenix Foundry, right behind the town hall.
I was ecstatic to be riding behind this engine!
While she was being filled up with water,
the carriages were shunted up to the station by the engine with real muscle.
This is the train that the blokes all admired - you can see why.
It is a great old engine, made about thirty years later when the state railways had started to make their own trains.
The Steam Rail blokes got properly grimy and coal dusty.
We were travelling in the old wooden Victorian Railways country carriages.
I'd forgotten how much the old trains rock along. It was hard to get things in focus.
In these old, wood panelled carriages I had the ultimate luxury - not available on modern trains trams and buses - I could open the windows to the cold air!
I could taste and smell the coal smoke - lovely!
Unlike cars and buses, trains go by people's backyards.
backyards tend to be unfussed and informal.
If you want to play around in a treasure trove of railway photos - bridges, crashes, railway footy teams, rope workshops - and all for free, try this link to the Public Record Office Victoria