5 Famous Model Train Enthusiasts

5 Famous Model Train Enthusiasts

Model trains are enjoyed by many people worldwide. But many people don’t realize that there are a number of celebrities who also enjoy model trains. Michael Gross may be one of the more well-known celebrity model train enthusiasts, as he has hosted how-to videos and written about model trains numerous times. But there are many others besides Mr. Gross. Here, now, are 5 famous model train enthusiasts that you may not have known about.

  1. Rod StewartRod StewartRod Stewart has a passion for HO scale trains. He has an incredibly detailed, large layout in his Beverly Hills home that depicts a semi-freelanced post-war Manhattan, with both steam and early diesel locomotives for power. His layout has been featured in Model Railroader magazine twice, in 2008 and 2013. The first time it appeared was the result of Rod writing the magazine and offering to share some photos. Since then, he’s developed a close relationship with the folks at Model Railroader and I suspect they will continue to cover his model railroad layout for years to come. You can read a bit more about his layout HERE, and you can read HERE about how takes his workbench on the road with him when he tours.

    rod stewarts layout

    A small portion of Rod Stewart’s layout.

  2. neil youngNeil Young – Canadian rock legend Neil Young also has a passion for model trains, specifically for Lionel trains. His passion for model trains predates his musical career, having been handed down from his father. And like his own father, Neil has passed the joy on to his children as well. In fact, Neil’s son, who has cerebral palsy, was the impetus for Neil backing the development of (and even contributing ideas to) Lionel’s Trainmaster Command, which is very similar to the DCC system now popular with HO and N scale model trains. Neil, his trains, and his son, have been featured in issues of Classic Toy Trains and on various TV interviews. You can read more about Neil’s layout here, and watch a video here about Neil and his son, and their trains.

    NY Classic Toy Trains

    A cover of Classic Toy Trains issue that features Neil Young’s trains.

  3. phil collinsPhil Collins – A third rock star on this list is Phil Collins. Far more than Rod or Neil, Phil has kept his model train hobby to himself. In fact, I could find no photos I could verify as being Phil’s layout. But, he has, in more recent years, started to talk about his hobby. In fact, in an interview from just a few years ago, Phil let it be known that it was his model train layout that kept him from the recording studio for so long, as he was trying to finish his layout in his home in Switzerland. In the meantime, we’ll keep hoping he lets one of the many model train magazines or websites get a glimpse of his layout.
  4. roger daltreyRoger Daltrey – As with Phil Collins, I can’t find photos that I can verify as Roger’s layout, but The Who frontman has talked about his hobby on numerous occasions. One recent interview he did, Roger talked about the various aspects of model railroading, including the woodworking and painting, he enjoys. In recent years, Roger has partnered with others to open a model train exhibition center in Ashford, Kent, England. The Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre is currently in the planning stages, but when opened should be a great boon to Ashford, the world, and model train enthusiasts everywhere.
  5. phil collinsMandy Patinkin – The only person on my list that isn’t a rock star – though he has more than a little musical talent – is actor Mandy Patinkin. Best known for his roles in The Princess Bride, Criminal Minds, and, most recently, Homeland, Mandy is also a model train enthusiast and collector. Several years ago he did an interview with Tom Snyder, where the bulk of the conversation was about model trains (Snyder was also a model train enthusiast). Late last year, Mandy did an interview with Bob Simon of 60 Minutes. The bulk of the interview was about his role on Homeland, but he did manage to get in a bit about his layout and collection.

    Mandy Patinkin's layout

    Mandy Patinkin shows off his layout.

That’s just five of many, many others. I could make this a list of 15 and there would still be others I left off. Basketball legend Michael Jordan, actor Tom Hanks, musician Elton John, actor David Hasselhoff, actor Gene Hackman, and so many others mean there are far more than just these 5 famous model train enthusiasts.

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Robert Thomson

Robert W. Thomson is a life-long railfan, the son of a former L&N Railroad B&B gang foreman, and an amateur photographer. He was born and raised in southeast Tennessee but now lives in Butte, Montana with his wife, Connie and cat, Charlie. Robert has worked as a park ranger, underground mine tour guide, freelance roleplaying game writer, and ran his own roleplaying game publishing company until selling it in 2012.

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Leave A Reply (1 comment So Far)

  1. Merle Althafer
    1 month ago

    Great article, Robert. I knew about Rod, but not the others. I would love to hear about more celeb’s in the future. Thanks again.

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