The Yarra Valley Railway is a heritage railway operating on a section of the former Healesville railway which operated between Lilydale and Healesville in the Yarra Valley area northeast of Melbourne, Australia.


The Lilydale-Melbourne railway was extended from Lilydale to Yarra Flats (now known as Yarra Glen) on the 15 May 1888 with intermediate stations at Coldstream and Yering. Part of the structure included a long timber viaduct with 502 openings near Yarra Glen, spanning the Yarra River and the adjacent flood plains. The extension of the line from Yarra Glen to Healesville required a 1 in 40 (2.5%) climb into a 154.4 metre tunnel with a corresponding descent at nearly the same grade. The Healesville Station opened on 1 March 1889 with an intermediate station at Tarrawarra.

Traffic on the line included timber, livestock, milk and dairy products. Early timetables included regular goods services specifically for transporting milk.

The last regular steam passenger service was hauled in August, 1964. From this time until closure of the line in 1980 passenger services were run using Rail Motors, initially with Walker railmotors but due to degrading track quality the Walkers were replaced by Diesel Electric Railmotors (DERMs) from 1978 onwards. After 9 December 1980 no services operated beyond Coldstream and the Healesville-Coldstream section of the line was officially closed to all traffic on 10 March 1983. The Healesville Railway Cooperative was established in 1984 to reopen the line and in 1985 was granted an 'Order In Council' for this section by the Victorian State Government[1] to operate the line as a tourist railway. It was partially reopened as far as Yarra Glen for tourist charter services in 1986 following major bridgework. However, these services ceased by 1990 when the Healesville Railway Cooperative merged with the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway, who began running trolley services on the Healesville-Yarra Glen section.

During the Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009 Yarra Glen station came under ember attack and two timber trestle bridges near Tarrawarra were burnt down in a fast-moving grass fire.

Following a track renewal and bridge reconstruction campaign, on 17 July 2010 the official launch of the Walker Railmotor service occurred with the first passenger train service to leave Healesville Railway Station in over 30 years.

Current operations

The Yarra Valley Railway currently runs a railmotor service from Healesville station to a temporary terminus at the back of the Tarrawarra Estate Winery on Sundays and public holidays, crossing the Watts River, under the Donovans Road overbridge and through the historic tunnel. The Railway is also presently rebuilding the 5 miles 48 chains (9.0 km) section from this temporary terminus to Yarra Glen station, including the reconstruction of the Yarra Glen and Tarrawarra stations and the replacement of 14 timber trestle bridges within this section.

There are plans to also run Saturday services with their soon to operational DERM. A while after the line is restored to Yarra Glen the Tarra Warra to Healesville Section will temporarily close to allow for extensive track maintenance.[2]


The railway is in possession of a number of locomotives and carriages, including the following:


Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
J516 1954 Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire Stored Victorian Railways J class coal-burning steam locomotive. Was plinthed in a park in Greensborough from 1975 until being acquired by YVTR in 1990. Stored at Healesville for possible future restoration.[3]
J541 J541 VGR YVTR Castlemaine.JPG 1954 Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire Overhaul Victorian Railways J class oil-burning steam locomotive. Privately owned by a group including the YVR and some of its members. Stored at a number of locations (including Healesville) until 2003, when it was moved to the Puffing Billy Railway for restoration. After restoration, it was loaned to the Victorian Goldfields Railway, where it entered traffic on 5 September 2007.[4] Left VGR in late 2011 for Newport Workshops for an overhaul for preparation to return to Healesville.
T341 1956 Clyde Engineering, Granville, New South Wales[5] Stored Victorian Railways T-class diesel-electric locomotive. Acquired by the YVR in the 1980s. Used on the railway till 2004. Transferred to Seymour for restoration to Mainline condition and made available for hire in 2008. Stored at South Dynon out of use 2012. Returned to Healesville on 14 May 2014. Presently awaiting repairs.
W250 1960 Tulloch Limited, Rhodes, New South Wales[6] Operational Victorian Railways W-class diesel-hydraulic locomotive.
Y109 El Zorro livery Y145.jpg 1963 Clyde Engineering, Granville, New South Wales[7] Stored Victorian Railways Y-class diesel-electric locomotive. Formerly owned by El Zorro and re-numbered Y145, it was acquired by the YVR in early 2014. Moved from store at Camperdown to Healesville on 13 May 2014. Will be restored to blue and gold livery as Y109 in the future.
Y135 1965 Clyde Engineering, Granville, New South Wales[7] Stored Victorian Railways Y-class diesel-electric locomotive. Diesel Electric Rail Motor. Transferred from Korumburra to Healesville on August 1st 2019.

Railmotors & Trailers

Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
RM 22 1948 Walker Bros. Operational 153hp Walker Railmotor.
RM 55 1928 Newport Workshops Under Restoration Diesel Electric Rail Motor. Transferred from Korumburra to Healesville on August 1st 2019.
RM 62 1930 Newport Workshops Stored - Unserviceable Diesel Electric Rail Motor.
58 MT 1952 Martin & King Under Restoration Walker Rail Motor Trailer.

Rail Tractors

Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
RT 17 Unknown Newport Workshops Stored
RT 53 Unknown Newport Workshops Operational


Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
32 BW 1914 Newport Workshops Under Restoration
34 BW 1914 Newport Workshops Operational
35 BW 1914 Newport Workshops Under Restoration

Guards Vans

Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
68 ZLP 1967 Newport Workshops Operational
24 ZF Newport Workshops Under Restoration

Goods Wagons

Number Image Year built Builder Status Notes
33 NN 1907 Newport Workshops Operational
52 NN 1950 Newport Workshops Operational
33 QN 1911[8] Newport Workshops Operational
100 QN 1926[9] Newport Workshops Operational

Line guide

The Yarra Valley Railway currently runs on a section of track from Healesville to the Tarrawarra Tunnel. The rest of the line between the stop board outside the Tarrawarra Tunnel exit and Yarra Glen is currently being restored.

Healesville railway line
Line to Lilydale
50 km
Yarra Glen
future extension of heritage railway
Yarra Glen rec. reserve and showgrounds
Steels Creek
Simpsons Lane
Pauls Creek
Tarrawarra Road
54.7 km
future extension of heritage railway
Tarrawarra Abbey service road (private access)
Private access road
Private access road
Tunnel (154.4m)
Donovans Road
Old Donovans Road bridge
Watts River
Healesville-Kinglake Road
63 km
Panoramic shot of Healesville Station with the railmotor RM22 sitting in the platform

See also


External links

Coordinates: 37°39′35″S 145°29′21″E / 37.6597°S 145.4891°E / -37.6597; 145.4891