What’s wrong with Johnny Cash, Winston Churchill, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Roger Daltrey, Joe DiMaggio, Rick Green, Gene Hackman, Tom Hanks, David Hasselhoff, Elton John, Michael Jordan, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Neil Young and Gary Coleman in common?
All these celebrities love to see miniature trains that run through mountains, rivers and miniature villages.
In short, everyone is addicted to model trains.
Johnny Cash, the American singer-songwriter, did TV commercials and endorsements for Lionel Trains in the 1970s.
Neil Young is part owner of Lionel Trains.
Rod Stewart, between dabbling in blondes and who knows what else, spent a considerable amount of time and money building model trains. In fact, Rod’s stunning replica of New York’s Grand Central Station, complete with 100-foot-long 1940s buildings and costumed figures, graced the cover of Model Railroader in October 2007. An honor Rod claims he means more than “being on the cover”. of the Rolling Stones”.
The late Gary Coleman is another model train aficionado. In an online interview with ABC News, he said, “I’m currently making Lionel trains. I’m making them as prototypical as possible, even though they’re toy trains. I still like to make them as realistic as possible.”
Gary Coleman also allegedly left his entire train collection to Allied Model Trains, The Original Whistle Stop, and The Train Shack in Los Angeles. So if you’re a train modeler, you know you’re in a great company. You can even get Frank Sinatra’s train layouts on DVD.
So what is the appeal of these toy trains?
First of all, they are not toys. Enthusiasts will tell you they are works of art. They are reduced versions of the real thing. They work like the real thing. There are a host of skills you need to master a job design. You are a jack of all trades: a semi-competent carpenter, electrician, metalworker, painter, sculptor, and designer all in one.
There is also the joy of escapism. You can forget about living for hours on end as you pore over the blueprint for a perfect world, all of your own making.
And it is never complete. Just keep looking for more things to add to your model to make it perfect. Adding a mountain here, a pond there, more clues. The list is endless. It can take you years. Then, of course, there is the ultimate thrill of seeing the trains zipping around the tracks.
It’s no wonder so many celebrities are hooked on model trains!