Training nomads' whistlestop
DARRYL and Fran Chambers arrived in Coffs Harbour on Sunday having completed yet another leg of their epic journey to travel the length and breadth of the planet by train.
Travelling first class courtesy of NSW sponsors CountryLink, the Chambers said the trip had been very enjoyable, especially after their recent experience on the Indian Pacific.
“As we approached Broken Hill on Friday, the train was going slower and slower, then it just stopped,” Mr Chambers said.
“They inspected the track and told us we wouldn’t be going any further because there were four wash-outs that had left the track hanging and twisted in places.
“We had to go all the way back to Adelaide and then they flew us all to Sydney.”
The Melbourne couple have always been great believers in travelling with a purpose, which is why they hatched the plan to criss-cross the planet by passenger train, covering every aspect of longitude, latitude, altitude and possible speed.
“We’re 86 per cent through the longitude, 75 per cent through the latitude, 50 per cent through the altitude and we’ve done all the speeds.
“The fastest train was in Shanghai, a magnetic train that travelled at 431 km/hour and the slowest train was Melbourne’s Puffing Billy at 10 km/hr.”
CountryLink’s relieving station manager, Neil McKeown, said in his 33 years with CountryLink he had never come across anyone undertaking such a feat.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Mr McKeown said.
“Travelling by train you see so much more of the countryside and don’t have the traffic headaches.
“You can eat when it suits you, walk around and meet people.”
The Chambers said the best trip so far had been on a train in Alaska in 2007 when they began their travels.
“The landscape was beautiful and the staff so full of information,” Mrs Chambers said.
“The train stopped every 20 minutes so the conductor could hop off and pick wildflowers for his wife.”