Midweek Interview

Midweek interview with Railway Adventures’ Scott McGregor

This week, we chatted with the owner and managing director of Railway Adventures in a crowded commuter train on our way to work. That is, until we realised we were in the quiet carriage.

The challenge for the industry is…

Maintaining a personal approach with customers in an increasingly virtual world is a challenge for most travel professionals. Many people still seek to deal directly with their travel industry expert to help plan their holiday and host their tours.

This is being challenged by the immediacy of online booking and research. Our industry has an opportunity to deliver on the promise of the informed human touch in an increasingly depersonalised world.

The things I like about my job are…

People! It’s the characters you meet along the way that make for a great job. Travel opens the doors but taking the time to connect with people along the way is one of the great joys of the business.

And the frustrations are …

Having to keep coming back to the desk every once in a while to catch up on paperwork.

If I didn’t work in travel, I would be…

I’d likely be back on TV DIY presenting, building an Oak Sideboard in 3 minutes on some lifestyle show somewhere.

My favourite airline is…

Qatar business is about the best I’ve enjoyed so far. I’m also quite a fan of Singapore if I need to fly economy.

My proudest moment was…

Winning the ‘Weakest Link’ back in my days as a TV presenter was pretty good especially as the significant prize money went to charity, in my case I chose Amnesty International. However, I am pretty chuffed with myself to make the successful leap from TV host to Train Travel guru.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was…

Once upon a time I ‘borrowed’ a vintage railway track machine and explored a recently closed country branch line with a couple of mates. The only problem was I didn’t bank on the recently retired track inspector would be out grazing his sheep in the ‘long paddock’ along the same line, somewhat against regulations as well.

After some embarrassment from both sides, we had a good laugh at the delicate situation and thought it best to just roll along. That old line may one day become one of the states great tourist attractions

I try to relax by…

Heading up to my mountain top retreat near Mudgee in central NSW where I can chill out in my collection of vintage railway carriages. I don’t mind a bit of bushcraft and carriage restoration to recharge the batteries before embarking on the next round of tour leading.

I also reckon on a good dose of Yoga every now and then is a very good tonic.

The last time I feared for my life was…

On a bus to Shimla on the winding mountain road in the lower Himalayas. That’s why I always, as far as possible, try to take the train, especially up there where the alternative is the wonderful ‘Himalaya Queen’ which chugs up the mountains on the spectacular old narrow gauge World Heritage listed railway.

If I can, I always try to avoid…

Travelling to Venice in August, eating insects from the markets, luggage without wheels

I really wish I had…

Listened more to my history teacher.

The best advice I’ve ever received was…

My dad had a sign in his shed, “The person who says it can’t be done is likely to be interrupted by somebody doing it”, pretty good to remember I reckon! He also said in business it’s always good practice to leave something for the next person.

I don’t understand why people…

Crowd the baggage conveyors at airports

My greatest weakness is…

My right knee! May need a new one soon. That’s if I can ever manage the discipline to stick to a schedule, without being distracted

And my greatest strength is…

Enthusiasm.

If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would…

Buy a locomotive to complete my full-size train set at Mudgee, my train of nine vintage carriages need a loco!

If I was prime minister I would…

Elevate measures to reduce the threat of serious climate change.

If I could be someone else for one day, I would be a…

Train driver on the Welsh Highland Railways

I’ve always wanted to travel to…

The little mountain railway in Ecuador, ‘Tren Crucero’ along the Devil’s Nose, something I hope to do sooner rather than later.

My favourite holiday was…

With my teenage daughter (pictured) recently when we went to Myanmar and returned via Bangkok to ride the Eastern and Orient Express down to Singapore. From the most rustic to the most opulent trains all in one eye-opening adventure.

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