Ian McFadyen Interview

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What sparked your interest in train travel and railways?

I think probably getting the Big Book of British Trains when I was about 8 followed by a classic Triang train set when I was 9.

Do you think your inner David Rabbitborough (Attenborough) might make an appearance on this tour? You will be seeing some spectacular wildlife!

I’m sure David Rabbitborough would be fascinated with many of the people and sights we will see along the way. I’m not sure if his safari suit still fits him but he may well have some comments about both travellers and locations.

David Rabbitborough

What are some of the most memorable train journeys you have had?

Mostly ones I experienced as a student in the Sixties travelling around Australia to film the last of the steam engines: crossing the Nullarbor in comfort on the old Trans-Australian train only to change onto something resembling cattle trucks at Kalgoorlie, riding in guard’s vans on remote outback lines where there was no passenger service, even getting a lift in the cab of a steam locomotive.

What do you love about travelling?

Experiencing spectacular landscapes and the romance of going to places you’ve never been before.

Have you had any really hairy train journeys?

The cattle-truck-like train from Kalgoorlie to Perth in 1968 felt like it was going to come off the tracks but the most arduous was sitting up all night on the Rockhampton Mail, train that went overnight from Brisbane to Rockhampton stopping at every town.

What highlights can members of the upcoming NZ Railway tour expect?

Breathtaking scenery, a superb cruise ship experience, wonderful company and a very entertaining host.

You have become renowned for your paintings – will you be bringing your brushes on tour?

Alas, turpentine in your luggage tends to trigger anti-terrorism responses. In any case there is too much spectacular scenery to ever have time to paint, so my camera will have to do the painting.

Tour details here