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Celebrities and Model Railroading

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Celebrities and Model Railroading
Posted by MidlandPacific on Monday, January 09, 2006 6:43 PM
I was surprised when I picked up this month's MR to discover that it carried an article with Michael Gross' by-line - surprised, because the name pushed a button that said "vaguely familiar, but for inexplicable reasons."

Then I saw his picture on the MR website, and thought - "Of course - Family Ties." Theatrical elements are always welcome in a hobby that Frank Ellison helped found - I won't say artistic, because there are thirty pages of discussion on that topic elsewhere - but he seems like a nice choice to spread the hobby. The famous people who come most immediately to my mind - Walt Disney excepted - as model railroaders are Frank Sinatra and Roy Cohn, and aside from being dead, they didn't exactly have that wholesome quality a family hobby needs - although Sinatra might've brought a certain Rat Pack insouciance to model railroading. It would've been model railroading with martinis and Dino - although, now that I think about it, I HAVE seen photos of Linn Westcott in a bow tie.

Cohn, on the other hand, would have all of us who owned Russian Decapods hiding them under the couch.

Does anyone else know of any famous people who are modelers? Particularly younger ones?

SpaceMouse doesn't count, btw.
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Posted by David_Telesha on Monday, January 09, 2006 7:07 PM
Check out this web site:

http://www.boldts.net/TrainsCelebs.shtml
David Telesha New Haven Railroad - www.NHRHTA.org
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Posted by MidlandPacific on Monday, January 09, 2006 7:35 PM
I don't know which scares me more: Hermann Goering or Roseanne Barr.

On the other hand, it's great to know that The Man in Black was a modeler. Or at least a runner.
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Monday, January 09, 2006 8:29 PM
I literally tripped over Gary Coleman in Caboose Hobbies one day. About two months later he was working there.

QUOTE: Originally posted by rripperger
I was surprised when I picked up this month's MR to discover that it carried an article with Michael Gross' by-line - surprised, because the name pushed a button that said "vaguely familiar, but for inexplicable reasons."

Then I saw his picture on the MR website, and thought - "Of course - Family Ties."

Do you remember the episode where he tried to get Alex interested in model railroading. But Alex turned the tiny town into a haven for "Republicans".
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Posted by Jetrock on Monday, January 09, 2006 8:40 PM
Michael Gross is probably as well-known these days for his model railroad work as for Family Ties, at least amongst the model railroading community...Sinatra was a toy-train buff, the made-for-HBO "Rat Pack" movie features a scene where Ray Liotta is running a rather extensive Lionel layout.

While model railroading is inherently a pretty wholesome hobby, there's no reason why folks who are also interested in less "wholesome" activities can't also be model railroaders.
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Posted by tpatrick on Monday, January 09, 2006 8:42 PM
You can add John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's Secretary of State, to the list. He was known to be an avid railfan. I believe Ike, himself, also had the interest, although I never heard that he actually had models.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 09, 2006 8:48 PM
Jon Bon Jovi is a railfan but I don't know if he has a layout.

Hermann Goering? I bet the trains ran on time on his layout.
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Posted by loathar on Monday, January 09, 2006 8:59 PM
There's a hobby shop in Franklin Tn. that has VIP evening hours so the country music stars that live in the area can shop without being hounded. They won't say who they are though.
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Posted by waltersrails on Monday, January 09, 2006 9:02 PM
sounds neat never thought of famous people in mr.
I like NS but CSX has the B&O.
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Posted by wd45 on Monday, January 09, 2006 9:36 PM
I recall seeing a feature on TV several years ago that showed Merle Haggard with a rather extensive collection of Lionel trains.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 09, 2006 10:20 PM
Our most recognized local weatherman , Dave Brown, is a modeler. I have seen him at the GATS show in Memphis a couple of times. He may not be a celeb all over but he is very popular where I live.
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Posted by Cox 47 on Monday, January 09, 2006 10:26 PM
Merle Haggard had a album years ago called My Love Afair with Trains..all train songs with Merle narrating and train sounds too..The album had pictures of some of his models...Another older album had a picture of a old car running on the rims on railroad tracks....Cox 47
ILLinois and Southern...Serving the Coal belt of southern Illinois with a Smile...
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Posted by CNJ831 on Monday, January 09, 2006 10:43 PM
Perhaps one should really step back and first address the question of whether these famous people are actually model railroaders, or simply the owners of commercially built model railroads, before jumping to any conclusions about them being part of our hobby. I'd have to say that very few real celebrities ever participate in the modeling aspect of the hobby these days (they certainly did many years ago but times have definitely changed). Likewise, celebrities often purchase or have custom made anything that momentarily catches their fancy, not out of any enduring interest in a subject or item. Very brief, flighty interest in a multitude of subjects is often what people with a lot of money have. And, at least in my book, those that might be toy train (Lionel, AF, Marx) collectors are just that and not model railroaders...unless they have a layout of some sort to run their trains on.

CNJ831
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Posted by joeh19012 on Monday, January 09, 2006 11:04 PM
My contribution:

This is just hear-say, but I heard that rock-and-roller Neil Young and former Phillies baseball star Mike Schmidt had train layouts.

Joe from the Philly 'burbs Disclaimer: Any mention of any type of commercial or retail enterprise is presented for informational purposes only, and does not represent an endorsement. I have no significant financial interest in any of the named companies.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 11:47 AM
Neil Young is a big railroader...Hmmm...I think it was about 10 yrs. ago or so I saw a special on A&E that featured Neil Young and his collection...not suprisingly he incorporated alot of organic materials onto the layout...Moss, etc..
What shocked me most was Sally Jesse Rapheal (sp) is a train nut too...as alot of us know, trains are not just for us boys!
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Posted by MAbruce on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 12:12 PM
I am. [:D][;)]
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Posted by twhite on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:10 PM
Depends on whether or not you consider these celebrities Model Railroaders or people who just like trains--I say hooray for both, BTW! Had a chance to see Sinatra's layout on an episode devoted to Lionel trains on a program once, and whether or not he built it, it was pretty impressive. And according to the program, he spent a lot of time with his layout, so whether or not he tinkered or just ran trains, he LIKED them. And that's the important point, to me.
Another fine actor who has an extensive Lionel layout (that he built himself, BTW) is Mandy Patankin, the B'way musical star.
Michael Gross being into model railroading doesn't surprise me at all--he's one very cool guy.
And let's not forget the Dentist in that wonderful Canadian comic strip FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE and his extensive G-guage outdoor layout. That hobby of his has resulted in some wonderful episodes.
Tom [:D]
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Posted by davekelly on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:19 PM
Several years ago Michael Gross won the model of the month award for building a station. Given how long ago that was I will assume that it is not just a fad for him. I am also assuming that he actually made the model that he won the award for.

Sam Posey is also a model rail.
If you ain't having fun, you're not doing it right and if you are having fun, don't let anyone tell you you're doing it wrong.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:29 PM
Dan Marino of the Dolphins is a big MTH fan and owner.

Neil Young is part owner of Lionel. I hope they sell out to MTH.[8D]
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:32 PM
Pete Waterman (music promoter) has a giant O scale layout which was on TV recently - he also owned (not sure if he still has them) a number of full-size locos and had a hand in the "Just Like The Real Thing" range of finescale O kits. I got the impression from the TV programme that he'd done a fair amount of the work himself, and apparently there are a few other musicians who tend to turn up on his doorstep while touring and run trains for a few hours - rather the opposite of the old rock and roll tour stories!
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Posted by MidlandPacific on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:33 PM
QUOTE: Do you remember the episode where he tried to get Alex interested in model railroading. But Alex turned the tiny town into a haven for "Republicans".


I don't remember it - but that sounds like something Alex would have done.
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Posted by route_rock on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 1:49 PM
The man in black HAS to be a railfan! Goes with out saying. Awesome list! Add Boxcar Willie just for his collection and I would add Hank Snow, just because his music is fun to listen to while blasting along the main or in the basement ;)

Yes we are on time but this is yesterdays train

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Posted by MidlandPacific on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 2:12 PM
OK - I've decided. Roseanne Barr is actually scarier than Hermann Goering. Not by much, but by enough.
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 2:29 PM
Ted Danson on Becker had a couple of HO scale pieces sitting in his office. I suspect that indicates he is an enthusiast.

Bob DeWoody
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Posted by PASMITH on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:28 PM
Sam Posey

Peter Smith, Memphis
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Posted by rolleiman on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 7:56 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by rripperger

OK - I've decided. Roseanne Barr is actually scarier than Hermann Goering. Not by much, but by enough.


Ever since she became Rosanne Arnold, it has been NO contest..

[:0][:0][:0]
Modeling the Wabash from Detroit to Montpelier Jeff
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Posted by nasaracer32 on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9:31 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Strasheim1023

Neil Young is a big railroader...Hmmm...I think it was about 10 yrs. ago or so I saw a special on A&E that featured Neil Young and his collection...not suprisingly he incorporated alot of organic materials onto the layout...Moss, etc..


Neil Young is a huge Lionel guy from what I understand. In fact, he sent his sound engineer out the last year we had the 611 running in '94 to do some recordings. I don't know if anything ever came of it or if he just used it for his personal use. I do know all of the crew got a bunch of free CDs, but I wasn't there at the time.

Will
Will www.nhvry.org
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9:41 AM
The late Richard Pryor was a model railroader.

Speedvision achor and former racer Sam Posey is a modeler, he even wrote a book about it, and has had 2 Model Railroader articles published.
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Posted by twalton8 on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9:51 AM
QUOTE: Roseanne Barr is actually scarier than Hermann Goering.

Generally speaking......I'd say yes!

twalton8
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Posted by TomDiehl on Wednesday, January 11, 2006 10:28 AM
And I'll bet Tim Allen's trains have "MORE POWER!!!!" (insert grunts here) [:D]
Smile, it makes people wonder what you're up to. Chief of Sanitation; Clowntown

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