Gordon Klein isn’t the only fancy train boy anymore. After taking more than two decades to perfect the rugged skyscrapers, the beaten-up warehouses, the cabooses, and a whole lot of choo-choos, Rod Stewart has unveiled his massive model-train set to the public. And we are floored. The low-key locomotive enthusiast granted Railway Modeller the exclusive look at the 124-by-23-foot masterpiece, which, as he giddily explained, depicts the platonic ideal of an industrial American city during the mid-20th century. “It’s the landscape I like. Attention to detail, extreme detail, is paramount. There shouldn’t be any unsightly gaps or pavements that are too clean,” Stewart said of his process. “When I take on something creative like this, I have to give it 110 percent. For me, it’s addictive. I started, so I just had to finish. I’m lucky I had the room.”
Stewart insists that he built the vast majority of the model railway himself (he outsourced the pesky “electricals”), and that he would often demand an additional hotel room while touring to serve as a designated train sanctuary. Climate control is integral! “We would tell them in advance, and they were really accommodating,” he said of hotels, “taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation.” The model is currently housed in the attic of Stewart’s Los Angeles mansion, and, again, we’re really going to have to insist that you look at the photos. “A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby,” he added, “but it’s a wonderful hobby.” We have to agree.