Alexander Findlay SMITH [1844-1926]
Some background first: He arrived in HK on his own account on 1.1.1867 (story in Social and Personal column, The Straits Times, 10.1.1917). That makes him 23 because he was born in Nairn to a tinsmith called William Smith in 1844. On 11.1.1873 there's a notice in the HK Govt Gazette to the effect that on 31.12.1872 Leopold Frickel had resigned from L Frickel & Co and in his place had come A.F. Smith. The following day a notice from AFS informed the general public that his new partner in L. Frickel & Co was one William Dolan. Five years later the Jury List announced that AFS was a "storekeeper" for McEwen Frickel & Co.
But that is not really what this is about. That's the biz of AFS having had work experience with the Highland Railway (eg https://www.hongkongheritage.org/pages/post.aspx?post=2), hence his fascination with tramways. This smacks rather firmly of a story-after-the-event. For AFS, given his dates, extensive experience with the Highland Railway pre-arrival in HK would have been unusual or he would have had to have been markedly precocious.
The Great North of Scotland Railway only opened its first line in 1854 (AFS 10 - and he was 8 when the very short precursor, a 5.5 mile line in Morayshire, had opened in 1852). The Inverness and Nairn Railway extension opened the following year (AFS 11) and the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway in 1856 (AFS 12) and so on as other bits opened in the late 1850s. The Highland Railway, bringing them all together, wasn't formed until 1865 (AFS 21), two years before his arrival in HK!
Assuming AFS had packed up and left with despatch in 1866, when he was 22. It seems improbable that he would have racked up a great deal of experience as a railwayman beforehand. Possible of course, but one's hunch is that this is a story that needs to be treated with some caution until some more is known of the years between 1867 and 1872 in HK (what did AFS do to amass his capital to buy in to L. Frickel & Co.) and the years before 1866 and AFS lighting out for the East and opportunity. After all, had he worked in the late 1850s/early 1860s railways, given his background, he'd probably have been an apprentice engineer at best, or possibly a plate layer, driver, fireman..., maybe starting at 14 (1858) with a possible 8 years until lighting out for the Orient, but not exactly building entrepreneurial skills in railway building.
He was obviously a chap with an eye to an advantage. He married Eulalie Gustavine Louise de Sonnaville (1857-1920), daughter of Johannes Antonius de Sonnaville, heer Van Craenenbroeck (1793-1860) and Sophronie Guislaine Sonnaville (2nd wife, 1820-1860) on 6 November 1884 in The Hague. My rough knowledge of Dutch backed by Google translate suggests that the family may have been connected to the world of Dutch colonial shipping. There's a bunch of legal documents anent marriage settlements and trusts at HKU in the Deacons archive (I think - lib.hku.hk/hkspc/Series_File_Lists.xls), where AFS is given as hailing from Finsbury Park, London. That part of the life of AFS in itself would be a most intriguing story to follow up.