The Railway Museum has on display the largest collection of Victorian Railways steam locomotives. There are more than 15 different locomotives, ranging from the diminutive F class up to the H class, the largest locomotive to operate in Victoria. Come and see the evolution of steam power on the railways.
In the days before mobile cranes, the Victorian Railways had their own. On display you will find 3 examples of steam cranes including No. 19, a 60 ton crane used at derailments.
Our other exhibits include photographic displays, signal box and various items of railway equipment. When you visit the Railway Museum in person, you enter through a replica of an 1887 Victorian Railways station building.
The railway museum is located on Champion Road near the intersection of Kororoit Creek Road and close to the North Williamstown railway station.
A visit to the museum will be a highlight for any kid or older family member who has a fascination or interest in trains or the period of history when trains were at their peak.
You enter and leave through the train shop which sells souvenirs including a well priced guide book with comprehensive information about all the exhibits (for a great price of $5). As you would expect from a place where all work is carried out by volunteers, the staff are super friendly and helpful. The running of the museum and refurbishment of trains is financed by admission fees and so you hand over your money with a willing heart.
There are friendly and passionate volunteer guides who wander about the grounds or are stationed in some of the popular carriages who provide assistance with any questions.
The train shop is housed in the former Blowhard Station and contains some model trains as well as small historical items in cabinets. Originally named Miners Rest then Mt Blowhard. Mt was dropped from the name on 3 Nov 1904. Blowhard was a station between Ballarat Racecourse and Learmonth on the short line between Ballarat and Waubra 85 miles west of Melbourne. It had a single line with siding and passenger and goods platforms. There was a line from the siding to a chaff mill too. The line opened in 1888. When it was to be closed the locals resisted. However the Minister for Transport said he had not closed the line, rather the line has closed itself as only tiny amounts of freight were consigned. The line and station closed on 1 Feb 1968.
There are toilets fairly close to the entrance which are located at the eastern (Melbourne) end of the Museum.
Tea, coffee, soft drinks and bottled water are available in the station building, along with snacks such as potato chips and chocolate bars. Alternatively you can re-enter the museum later that day simply by showing your ticket if you want to visit a café in the Williamstown area.
All the items in the museum have informative labels. If you are the type of person who must read every label, then hunker down for a long visit which is likely to last all afternoon. One nice element about the information panels is that they often have a section with thought provoking questions for kids.
Some of the trains have steps which allow you to go up into the cabin while others can only be admired from the ground. Keep an eye on the opening schedule because some carriages are only open at certain times of the day and the model railway is also only open for set times of the day. For example, the model railway room was open for 20 minutes at 1, 2, 3 and 4pm.
The 0 scale (1:43) model railway runs in a loop around the model railway room. The track and most of the trains on this display were formerly owned by the late Bill Fairlam, who built an extensive model railway layout in the roof space of his house.
While today 1:87 HO scale (which literally stands for "Half O") is the world's most popular model railway scale, in the early 20th Century O scale was highly popular. Mr Fairlam's trains were hand-made, entirely from scratch. Passenger carriages are made from balsa wood, goods vans from tin, and locomotives from white metal, brass and tin. They were constructed from around the late 1940s to the early 1960s, and were based on trains running on the Victorian Railways network at the time. Although the layout presented a contemporary scene at the time Mr Fairlam built it, today it is like a window back to the 1950s. It shows models of various Victorian Railways locomotives that are today preserved in the museum as they appeared when still in operating service, coupled to the types of trains they would have typically hauled.
The track itself uses brass rails that have been hand cut and dog-spiked to wooden sleepers. If you look closely, you can see a now of raised nails running down the middle of the tracks. These carry electricity which is picked up by a skate suspended beneath the train. This type of electricity delivery predates the modern plastics used on today's model railways to isolate a positive and negative rail. After Mr Fairlam passed away, the tracks and models were kindly donated to the Railway Museum by Mrs Ruth Fairlam for display and the Railway Museum built the room to house the models.
If you fancy a birthday party here the "buffet car" is available for hire. As well as a large variety of trains which have different histories and uses, there are other rooms including a signal box.