The beloved tradition of sticking your ankles out the windows of historic train Puffing Billy in the Dandenong Ranges – which is surely one of the most innocent of all the dangles – has been banned.
The move comes after a minibus travelling east along School Road in Menzies Creek collided with the train on Tuesday. The bus clipped the side of the train and derailed one of the carriages.
One of the 16 passengers travelling on the tour bus was injured in the crash and taken to hospital. Passengers on the train escaped injury.
The company that operates Puffing Billy has banned the dangling of limbs from the train’s cars while an investigation takes place. The Age reports this is the first time the practice has been banned on the train since it began running in the early 1900s.
"Safety is of the utmost importance at our iconic heritage steam railway and we have procedures in place to mitigate further danger and to ensure the continued safety of all passengers on the railway," says Puffing Billy CEO John Robinson in a statement on the company’s website.
But locals are upset.
"We all think it's a complete overreaction … and it seems a great shame," says Bills of Belgrave butcher Bill Woolnough. "I drive past it every day and there are kids hanging their legs out of the carriage, kicking them in the air and having the time of their lives," he told the Age.
Many have vented their frustration via the company’s Facebook page.
It’s unknown how long the company’s investigation into the crash will take to complete, or how long the ban will be in effect. Victoria Police is also investigating.