Historical information

The Refreshment Services Branch was established in 1920, and initially focused on providing station-based refreshment rooms and the dining car service. Its scope expanded to include diverse activities such as stall rental; sales of advertising space on railways infrastructure; laundry services; operation of a hair-dressing salon, a bakery, a butchery and a poultry farm; and the management of the chalet guesthouse at Mt Buffalo.

The majority of staff worked in refreshment rooms and dining cars, both of which were a popular feature of the railway service. Previous to 1920 refreshment services had been provided by contractors, but after many complaints the Department decided to provide a standardised service across the system. It grew quickly: five years after it was established the Branch employed approximately 500 staff. Station refreshment facilities ranged from elaborate dining rooms to decorated push-carts. They were staffed predominately by women, who provided everything from a cup of tea to a three course meal.

Most refreshment room services were closed in the 1970s.

Reference from : Fielding, K. (2012) Victorian Railways - Refreshment Services Branch in Museums Victoria Collections http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/11470


Historic - Replica of a a Victorian Railways Refreshment Services Serving Trolley used on Puffing Billy Railway

Physical description

Replica large wooden serving cart with fitted wooden cabinet featuring sliding glass doors and one glass shelf. Cart has chrome handles, two wooden shelves, a wooden drawer with chrome handle and a small chalkboard adhered to end. Cart has four small black rubber and metal wheels and a metal foot brake.