For years, Bill Cartledge watched the trains pass by the back of his house at Beaufort.
But the 73-year-old didn’t expect to ride on one – until yesterday.
Having never caught a train, Mr Cartledge celebrated his birthday with a first when he boarded the 8.15am V/Line service to Ballarat yesterday.
The journey, organised by his children and friends, was Mr Cartledge’s first-ever train trip.
“The kids all knew I’d never been on an airplane, train or tram and they decided to do that for my birthday,” he said.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get on a train, but I did.”
Despite living next to the railway line at Beaufort for the past five years, Mr Cartledge has always travelled around the district by car.
But wanting to do something different for their dad, his kids decided to surprise him yesterday with a return train journey to Ballarat.
Mr Cartledge said he enjoyed the experience – and it was one he could now tick off his list.
He said he would probably travel on one again if he couldn’t drive his car.
“It was different, just having a look out the window,” he said.
“Instead of looking at the front of farms it’s looking at the back of them.
“If it ran out of petrol I wasn’t going to get out and push it. I’d push a car but not a train.”
Mr Cartledge said he had no imminent plans to fly in a plane or catch a tram, preferring to keep his feet on solid ground.