South Suburban 4-4-0 #35, (built by Phoenix Ballarat 1883) possibly on pilot duties.
Princes Bridge station started life as the Melbourne terminal for the "Melbourne & Suburban Railway Coy" The first train departed Feb 5 1859 for the lengthy journey to Punt Road! In 1862 the Melbourne & Suburban Railway Coy was purchased by the Melbourne Railway Coy, which was in turn taken over by the "Melbourne & Hobson's Bay United Railway Coy" in 1865. In 1878 the Victorian Railways brought out the private company in order that the new Gippsland railway could be brought into Melbourne direct instead of via the circutous ill fated Outer Circle line. The station was not used for passengers between 1866 and and the opening of the Gippsland railway from Oakleigh in 1879 when it was again used due to lack of capacity at Flinders Street for the Gippsland trains. Which brings us to the period in which this wonderful photo was taken, all Gippsland trains would have been using Princes Bridge and all suburban trains running to and from Flinders St. The photo was most likely taken from the window of the Princes Bridge signalbox which opened on April 11 1883..