May 6, 2022 | By Graeme Kemlo

Since 1900 it’s been a thing: you could sit on the windowsills, legs dangling outside the carriage as Melbourne’s legendary little train, Puffing Billy, steamed its way through the Dandenong Ranges. Things got all politically correct for a while and hanging appendages out the window was banned, but now it’s back.

And while we’re not suggesting you send the C-suite on a slow sightseeing ride with Italian suit jackets billowing in the breeze, Puffing Billy can host a business meeting – and do it in style.

This volunteer-preserved railway has carried over 11 million passengers – mostly leisure-seeking families – but it now offers on-board experiences such as “Steam & Cuisine Luncheons” featuring a first-class carriage where you can sip Chardy from the local Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley vineyards.

Encased in velvet like a scene from an Agatha Christie murder mystery, you’ll be dining on fine fare prepared by the head chef by the time you cross the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge.

After main course, you will arrive at Emerald Lake Park where the new architect-designed Puffing Billy Lakeside Visitor Centre offers a unique set of meeting spaces indoors and out.

Having fed and watered the team, and hopefully inspired them amidst a collection of steam rail history, it is all aboard for the return Steam & Cuisine journey. This includes dessert and a cuppa before this narrow gauge (2’6″ or 762mm) railway constructed in the early 1900s to open up remote areas, sounds the familiar steam-whistle to signal its arrival back into Belgrave station to conclude your three and a half hour team bonding session.