Sir Rod Stewart has unveiled the secret track he has been working on for 26 years – his beloved 1,500 sq ft model railway.
The 74-year-old singer has long been known to be a model railway enthusiast but has only now chosen to share his beloved pet project with the world for the very first time - in the latest issue of Railway Modeller magazine.
Sir Rod has named his sprawling model – which fills the entire attic room in his Los Angeles mansion - Grand Street and Three Rivers City, based on a 1940s American city.
The Da Ya Think I’m Sexy singer confessed: “When I take on something creative like this, I have to give it 110%. For me, it's addictive. I started, so I just had to finish.
“I'm lucky I had the room. If I'd realised at the start it would have taken so long, I'd have probably said No! No! Nah!”
Sir Rod started the project in 1993 and said he would book an extra hotel room when he was away on tour to work on it on the road.
He said: “We would tell them in advance and they were really accommodating, taking out the beds and providing fans to improve air circulation and ventilation.”
The singer’s love of model railways began in childhood when he lived on Archway Road in north London, near the London Transport Highgate Depot and the Wellington Sidings coal yard.
The sprawling depiction of a post-war, heavily industrialised city was inspired by his love of American railroads, and includes skyscrapers – some of which are 5ft tall – bridges, a rush-hour traffic scene, “transition era” facilities for both steam and diesel traction, and a power station. There is even a Celtic FC-liveried bogie open coal wagon representing an American gondola, a nod to his beloved football team.
The model also includes a Great Caledonian Steel & Iron Co building in reference to his Scottish heritage.
Sir Rod said he does not “like to see flat backdrops, they spoil the illusion, so I went for more buildings and streets than tracks”.
He added: “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.”
However, despite its depth and attention to detail, Sir Rod admitted, “none of it was really planned” and he “just winged it”.
The December issue of Railway Modeller magazine goes on sale on 14 November.