Railway Adventures – Heritage Train Tour Leaders Q & A’s with Robert Kingsford-Smith

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
    I grew up in Sydney and worked in the sciences. I retired from full time work as a Scientific Officer at Macquarie University a number of years ago. I now live in the Coffs Harbour hinterland on an old farm which has subtropical rainforest and a huge variety of native birds. I have always loved travel and trains. Wherever I go, I always wonder what is around the next bend of the road or railway line.
  2. What attracted you to the love of train travel?
    I have been fascinated by steam trains since before I could talk, apparently. During family holidays, I was always happiest when we were driving near a railway line – if a train was seen, Dad would follow it, even if this meant turning around. Also, I can remember going to Sydney Central Station in the early 1950s to see friends off on the Melbourne Ltd Express. They were booked in a sleeping car which looked wonderful. The best part of the event was walking up to the front of the train to see the huge steam loco being prepared, by its crew, for departure. I wished I was going. Even now, I think the classiest way to travel is by sleeping car train with meals served in a dining car.
  3. Favourite country in the world and why?
    I have been to over 50 countries and trying to pick a favourite is difficult as all have their own charms. A shortlist would include Sri Lanka – it is exotic, friendly, easy to get around and its railway system is worked with the same equipment and procedures as Australian railways were back in the 1950s and 60s. Portugal – life is lived at a relaxed pace, delightful villages are scattered through stunning, mountain scenery, the cities of Lisbon and Porto are magnificent and have incredible tram systems.  Back in the 1970s restaurants and taverns were required by law to serve free wine with meals (this may no longer be the case). Switzerland – you can get everywhere by train, the railway system is possibly the most efficient in the world, trains run on time, connections happen within minutes and the scenery is magnificent.  Kenya – for its wildlife and Rift Valley scenery.  Zimbabwe – also for its wildlife – travelling through the bush is so similar to travelling through the Australian bush except that there are no kangaroos and the possibility of being eaten by lions is very real!  Ecuador – stuning Andean scenery with active volcanos, old Quito is one of the most magnificent cities.  Chile – more incredible Andean scenery, the mountains in the south of the country are covered in forests of Antarctic Beech and Monkey Puzzle pines, there are some beautiful camp spots.
  4. Where haven’t you visited but is on the bucket list?
    Russia, Alaska, Morocco, the Amazon.
  5. How long have you worked with Railway Adventures?
    I have been with Railway Adventures since its inception in 2013 when I led a Queensland Outback Railway Adventure.
  6. Your Favourite Railway Adventures Tour?
    Again, all the tours I’ve led have been great. My favourites would be Queensland OutbackSri Lanka and Switzerland.
  7. Your most memorable Railway Adventures Tour?
    Probably the Switzerland Tour I led in 2019. I was called on at short notice and wasn’t sure what to expect but it all went like clockwork. After reaching the summit of the Jungfrau on spectacular mountain rack railways, we found the view was totally obscured by cloud but a few days later we reached the Gornergracht on the rack railway from Zermatt and the view of the Matterhorn was superb – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. One of the world’s most incredible pieces of railway engineering would have to be the line over the Bernina Pass.
  8. What is your favourite international cuisine?
  9. What are your top 5 packing essentials?
    Aside from Railway Adventures paperwork, appropriate clothing, sensible footwear, camera, maps, a bird guide for the country concerned.
  10. Tell us why you love your job
    The job means I can put a life time of knowledge and experience as a railway enthusiast and traveller to practical use. I can impart some of my passion for trains and travel to our passengers. Also, I get to return to some of my favourite places and travel to new ones.Robert currently Tour leads on NSW OutbackOutback QueenslandQueensland Savannah, Swiss Alpine Adventure by Rail and Sri-Lanka Art and Culture Tour on the Viceroy Special.

Scott McGregor’s Railway Adventures tour is more than just a holiday, it is a unique way to experience the world. By train you are completely immersed in culture and adventure, exploring the most scenic corners of the world in the comfort of a luxury train. Whether you are an experienced traveller or just beginning to explore this wonderful world, Railway Adventures has something for everyone. Transform your holiday into the most unforgettable adventure of a lifetime with Railway Adventures.
1300 800 977 or email us at [email protected] to request a brochure on our domestic tours in 2022 or visit our website to view all our tours.

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