Australian Heritage Railways: Lifehacker's Complete List

In a road-obsessed society, many of Australia's former railways no longer operate commercially, but that doesn't mean they've disappeared entirely. Volunteer groups run heritage railways across the country, offering a chance to revisit earlier eras of transport. Check out every active heritage railway in Australia on our interactive map.

We've featured every railway we could find which actually runs trains (or trams), since those make the most compelling option for visitors. That means we've omitted heritage groups currently trying to restart services, or stations which run solely as museums. If you want a list that includes those operations, check out Wikipedia's roundup.

Heritage railway opening hours vary widely, so check before you visit. Select weekend operations are the most common for volunteer groups; tourist-oriented railways may run more frequently. We've linked to the web site for each railway on the map. Most run solely from their 'home' stations, but some (such as the Lachlan Valley Railway) also take trains to other locations for special events.

Because these services aren't subsidised and have no other source of income, you'll pay more for a ticket than on a typical city urban train, but you'll also have a very different experience. If you know of an Australian railway we've missed, tell us in the comments and we'll update the map.


    The West Coast Wilderness Railway will stop operating on 30 April. I visited the area the month before it started operations and haven't been back to Tasmania since. Looks like I'll miss out.

    This is also one at Woodford Queensland.

    Just a small issue regarding operating expenses, I think that in Victoria the government does give the operators some money, and cheap access to second hand sleepers/rail

    What about groups that operate heritage trains on current lines?

    Two that spring to my mind are the Canberra Railway Museum, operated by the ACT Division of the Australian Railway Historical Society (, and Steamrail Victoria (

    There are several similar operators in NSW too.

    The Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway has Skylark locomotive and a diesel engine. It's located about 20 km South of Mildura in Victoria, on the corner of the Calder Highway and Millewa Way. Check out this video we made for them. They also have a facebook page and various web sites feature them. They are an entirely volunteer run railway. Hope you can add them to the list. Miriam

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