Sir Rod Stewart

He’s one of rock’s biggest stars, but Sir Rod Stewart has finally revealed the fruits of his other great passion – model railways.

In between making music and playing live, Sir Rod has been working on a massive, intricate model of a US city for the past 23 years.

He unveiled it as part of an interview with Railway Modeller magazine.

He then phoned in to Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 show to rebuff the host’s suggestion he had not built it himself.

“I would say 90% of it I built myself,” he insisted. “The only thing I wasn’t very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that.”

Sir Rod has released 13 studio albums and been on 19 tours during the time it took to build the city, which is modelled on both New York and Chicago around 1945.

Here is more, via the BBC.  Via Ilya Novak.


That is super-cool. What an awesome hobby!

That's pretty cool

Among the more interesting features of the model are the rail accessible freight warehouses ( to the left in the photo) within what appears to be walking distance of high rise downtown.

My first job (minimum wage, Saturday’s, at 16) was unloading freight cars into a warehouse, which was also the point of sale.

The economics and logistical infrastructure have changed. I suspect there is very little urban freight delivery by rail these days.

Maybe not last mile, but lots of inter-modal now adays.

That's the way we used to supply the cities. You'll still find vestiges of the old produce terminals just south of Chicago's Loop, and in Milwaukee's Commission Row area (two such districts that I'm familiar with) if you know where to look, and the West Side bike trail in Manhattan has a similar genealogy.

As the owner of a model railroad museum, I approve this message.

So Brazil, too, has succumbed to the power of Red China.

Okay, Boomer.

(Just kidding, that is kinda cool.)

Tom Hanks once had a collection of about 250 typewriters. He's now down to about 120. Typewriters. Each Christmas the Charleston Place sets up a model (or toy) train in the lobby. I go there, get a glass of champagne from the adjacent bar, and then sit and watch the train and the people watching the train. Other do the same, except some bring books to read rather than a glass of champagne. There's something about trains. A vivid memory of my childhood is going with my parents to the train station to drop off friends who were taking the train to wherever they were going. The train roaring into the station was both fascinating and frightening. Before the train arrived, I'd put a penny on the track, and then retrieve the smashed penny after the train left the station. As the train came roaring into the station, an attendant standing near the moving train would hold up a rod with a piece of paper at the top, and a man leaning out of the moving train would grab the paper. What important messages were on the paper? Cowen doesn't care for trains, at least not trains used for pubic transit. I suspect he has a model train set at his house.

Coincidentally, every November a big model railroading club in Portland, OR has an open house where the public can view their big set-up:

I've never been but each year keep telling myself I ought to go and take a look.

There are numerous articles saying that model railroading may be a dying hobby, or at least a diminishing one. One would have to think that when Gen Z or the Millienials reach retirement age, they might be more interested in flying drones or radio controlled model vehicles than in model railroads.

But maybe 3-D printing could enable a revolution in model railroading, making creativity and customization as easy as using a mouse and a computer screen?

I used to go to Boston's South Station and walk along the tracks until one day an attendant pulled my arm and told me she'd been watching me and that behavior was both erratic and unbecoming and I'd be better served at the bar. I couldn't believe her! That she'd stop me like a piece of silver and throw me in an invisible pond and I sunk instead of answered.

I hung out with nutty cousins in Deluth Minnesota and they took me train jumping at ten.

Thus were the engineers romanced,
When steam and steel in fire danced,
The lines were clear, the points were straight,
the coal burned bright with the grate,
An Empire! A world of men!
If only it should come again!
Except no whistle calls it back.
The children know they somehow lack.
Their thoughts are turned to tunnel-black
They throw themselves upon the track.

Not at all. It is an alliance to support world oeace and prosperity. Brazil and China are working together, equal partners in all endeavours, for world peace. Maybe we should not support them instead of insulting them.

Well played. I almost thought you were serious until the second half.

This Manchurian candidate thing has gotten serious

There is nothing Manchurian going on.

The Red Chinese have won.

You mean, when he was crooning "Tonight's the Night" he was really thinking about his train layout?

"I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school
Or steal my daddy's cue and make a living out of playing pool
Or find myself an HO band that needs a helping hand"

No, Sir Barken Hyena. He was really thinking of a train entering a tunnel!

It's weird that a lot of outlets are framing this as the "unveiling" of the layout -- Rod's layout was the cover story on an issue of Model Railroader maybe eight years ago? The news now is that he's considering it "done". (Though I'd be shocked if he stopped working on it... it seems like most people who have done a model on that scale are always trying to get it a little bit better, unless they junk the whole thing and start over.)

You would not work on a model railroad for 10 or 20 years with the expectation you would "finish" it, except by your death.

Extraordinary. I love it.

This is Tyler making a Straussian argument for wealth taxes.

All of the other idols have fallen. Rod Stewart was the last man standing, a guiding star for anyone who wanted to believe that rock stars spent their long nights coked up and hopping back and forth from nightclub floor to love nest with eager groupies.

Rod, how could you do this to your fans? #metoo1:87scale

It started when he sold out and accepted the knighthood. Now he's no different than all the other "anti-establishment" "Sirs" from the 60's and 70's. What was it The Ruttles sang?... All You Need Is Cash?

Hermann Göring also had a nice model train setup

Yes, but Sir Rod is a much better blues singer.

How do we know this?

Simple. Sir Rod sold 120 million records. How many of Göring's blues songs made the charts?

So did Gomez Adams.

Rod Stewart and one-time wife Rachel Hunter's son Liam Stewart played hockey in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs, later for the Alaska Aces in the ECHL and for two different pro teams in the UK. To the players he was just another one of the guys.

I'm reminded of the movie "Groundhog Day." At one point Andy McDowell said to Bill Murray "So this is what you do with eternity," mastering flipping cards into a hat.

So this is what it means to have unlimited Fame and wealth. Playing with model trains.

the cars in the picture on Tyler C's post are sort of the all star cars of 1946 (the unlikely pattern of non-black paint schemes are the relevant clue) but if you click onto the BBC article you will see a Liberty Ship with Korean conflict era details and if you really know what the odds are with respect to locomotive design you will think you cannot be anywhere before 1949, at least that is what I have learned in the last week or so from reliable sources.

Just saying, I could be wrong.

I enjoyed this link so much. This is the best model train setup I've ever seen. It really is like a painting. The detail! I wonder what those tanks and silos are made out of.

I wonder if those spelling errors on the buildings were intentional. "CONSILIDATED PAPER CORPERATION"? "REFRIDGERATION"?

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