Model railroading has been around for more than a century. Thus, there are lots of celebrities who have identified themselves as model train enthusiasts. This blog post listed 30 famous people who are into model railroading. How many people on this list do you know?
There are many famous people who are into model railroading. Among these are Michael Jordan, Frank Sinatra, Tom Hanks, Sebastian Bach, Warren Buffet, Neil Young, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Winston Churchill, and more. Some even promoted popular model trains brands and had numerous scale layouts.
Here is the list of 30 famous people who identified themselves as model train enthusiast.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan likes model trains and has been noted by the National Model Railroad Association as a model train enthusiast. Jordan loves building N scale train layouts, and some of his notable layouts are based on Chicago’s landscape.
Michael Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time by the NBA. He is a popular figure in basketball in the 1980s and 1990s.
He is popular worldwide because of his famous dunks and how he made the Chicago bulls to be champion for 6 years.
The Bulls were the NBA champion in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998.
2. Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra likes model trains and has been rumored to have more than a million dollars worth of model trains. He has a room specifically for his train layouts which he calls “All Aboard.” His most popular train layout is a layout based on his home town Hoboken, New Jersey.
Frank Sinatra is a hardcore model train collector. He specializes in collecting Tin-plated and Lionel trains.
Recommended Read: Did you know that some Lionel trains are now worth thousands of dollars? If you are interested in the value of Lionel trains, feel free to check this post: Are Lionel Trains worth it?
He is considered to be one of the best-selling music artists of all time, selling more than 150 million records.
His story of how he became a model train enthusiast is also interesting.
It started with a man called Thomas Dorsey, also known as Tommy Dorsey.
Dorsey was a major influence on Sinatra, and he copied Dorsey’s characteristics which included his hobby of model trains.
That’s where he started model trains and dedicated himself to building train layouts and collecting model trains.
3. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is a model railroader, and one of his most popular train layouts is his work making a layout for the Southern Pacific Line. He is also very interested in trains that he became the voice actor for the conductor in a film called “The Polar Express.”
Tom Hanks is a popular actor and filmmaker. He is known for movies such as Splash, Bachelor party, and Big. He also won two Academy awards for best actor with six nominations.
In 2020, he also received the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award.
4. Sebastian Bach
Sebastian Bach is a model train enthusiast, and he loves collecting O scale model trains. He became a fan of model railroading after he accidentally played with a random model train which he enjoyed.
Sebastian Bach, also known as Sebastian Philip Bierk, is an American Rock Star and a Canadian singer. He became famous when he received a demo from Skid Row in 1989.
From 1989 to 1995, he became the frontman of Skid Row.
He also appeared on television and in films such as Trailer Park Boys and Gilmore Girls.
Sebastian Bach’s interest in train modeling came from a unique circumstance compared to other people on this list.
Sebastian Bach became a model railroader because he stole a model train one day when he was drunk. When he was drunk, he played and enjoyed the train he stole, and he played it till he wasn’t drunk anymore.
After that, he got hooked into model railroading and has been collecting O scale model trains ever since.
5. Neil Young
Neil Young is a model train enthusiast to the point where he became a part-owner of Lionel trains and has a specific alias in the model railroading community called Clyde Coil. He became a fan of model trains when he received a model train set when he was a child.
Neil Young is a Canadian-American singer and songwriter. He received numerous Grammy and Juno awards.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also inducted him twice, in 1995 and 1997.
He also directed or co-directed numerous films such as Rust Never Sleeps, Journey Through the Past, and Greendale.
Neil Young started his model railroading journey when he received a model train set as a child. However, he became a real fan when he had his child, Ben.
Playing with model trains with his child was his favorite pastime and he became a real fan of model railroading ever since.
He is a real fan that he owns a share of Lionel trains and he has a model train alias called Clyde Coil.
6. Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr is a fan of model railroading that he became the first narrator of the popular cartoon train series called Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. Furthermore, he played the role of Mr.Conductor in Shining Time Station.
Richard Starkey, also known as Ringo Starr, is a drummer, musician, and songwriter who is a member of one of the most popular bands in history known as The Beatles.
He also appeared numerous times on television and in movies such as Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Ringo.
What many don’t know is that Ringo Starr loves model railroading and that he became the first narrator of a famous train cartoon called Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
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7. Elton John
Elton John is a fan of model railroading that he made a model train layout in his garden.
Sir Elton Hercules John is an English composer, singer, and pianist. Elton John is a successful solo artist in the 70s.
Elton John had a massive impact on the music industry, especially pop music.
He is one of the best-selling artists of all time selling over 300 million records over his career in music.
8. Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet is a fan of model railroading, and he owns a share of Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway. He also has model train layouts in his home.
Warren Buffet is a famous businessman and is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. One of the stocks Berkshire Hathaway owns is BNSF.
Warren Buffet is also the 6th wealthiest man in the world, with a net worth of over $117 billion in 2022.
He is also a Philanthropist that is still giving a lot of his money to charitable works.
9. Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash is a fan of model railroading, especially Lionel trains. He also appeared in numerous Lionel commercials in the past. He is a fan of O scale model trains.
John R. Cash, also known as Johnny Cash, is an American songwriter. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, selling 90 million copies worldwide.
He also starred in his own television show called “The Johnny Cash Show” on ABC network.
Johnny Cash is a fan of Lionel trains. That’s why he appeared in some Lionel commercials to show his love for the hobby.
10. Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart is a model railroader that has been featured in numerous issues on Model Railroader. He is an avid fan of model trains that he built two big train layouts. One of which is a replica of British Rail’s East Coast Line, and the other is the Grand Street And Three Rivers City which recreated American Cities in the 1940s.
Rod Stewart is a British rock and pop singer. He is among the best-selling artist of all time selling over 250 million copies worldwide.
He was also knighted in the 2016 Birthday Honours due to his contribution to the music industry and services to charity.
11. Jools Holland
Jools Holland is a model railroader and is famous for his 1960s Berlin to London train layout. This massive layout took him 10 years to build. He has also been featured on Model Railroader.
Jools Holland has a massive collection of model trains that the length of his collection collections can reach more than 100 feet.
Jools Holland is an English pianist and an original member of the band called “Squeeze.” He also worked with numerous model train enthusiasts such as Elton John and Eric Clapton.
12. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton is a popular rock and blues musician and songwriter. He is ranked second on Rolling stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time. He is reportedly a fan and collector of model trains.
Eric Clapton received 18 Grammy awards and a Brit award due to his contribution to the music industry.
13. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is reported to have enjoyed model trains as a hobby. Therefore, he is a model railroader.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, also known as Winston Churchill, was a British statesman that served as a prime minister. He has numerous achievements, including but not limited to being a Nobel prize-winning writer, historian, painter, and politician.
In his free time, he also tends to enjoy model trains.
He is considered one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century as he defended Europe’s democracy over Fascism.
14. Roger Daltrey
Roger Daltrey is a big fan of model railroading that he helped launch the World’s Largest Model Railway Exhibition Center in Ashford, Kent. This big exhibition has large train layouts, and the layouts collectively are now worth £6.2m.
Daltrey is a co-founder and the lead singer of the rock band the Who.
Roger Daltrey enjoyed radio over television, and because of this, he enjoyed model railroading as he could listen to the radio while building a layout.
He is also famous for his quote about model railroading which is “The great thing about model railways is you can be doing a bit of woodwork, a bit of painting, a bit of this, a bit of that, and having fun with your mates, and you can listen to the radio.”
15. David Hasselhoff
David Hasselhoff is a model railroader and is a fan of LGB trains. LGB trains are popular for their G or garden scale. That’s why Hasselhoff has a model train layout in his garden,
Recommended Read: If you are interested in LGB trains, such as their history and product quality, feel free to check this post: Everything You Need to Know about LGB trains.
David Hasselhoff, also known as “the Hoff,” is a famous American actor.
He is also in the Guinness book of world records as the most-watched man on TV.
He produced many films such as Knight Rider, Dodgeball, Click, and Hop. He also became a judge on America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent.
16. Walt Disney
Walt Disney was a fan of trains that every Disney theme park he made had some train rides in them. This is also why many Mickey Mouse films have train scenes. Furthermore, he also built a steam train named after his wife called, Lilly Belle.
Disney got interested in trains when he visited the Henry Ford museum and rode the locomotive to travel around the museum.
Walt Disney is an American film producer and entrepreneur. He holds the record for most Academy Awards earned with 22 Oscars.
He produced numerous cartoon films such as Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, Snow White, Dumbo, etc.
17. Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw is a model railroader that likes collecting and building HO scale model trains.
He is a retired American network television journalist and author.
He is also the co-anchor of The Today’s Show from 1976 to 1981.
Brokaw is also considered one of the big three news anchors in the 1980s.
Tom Brokaw authored numerous American history and society books, including The Greatest Generation.
He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Past President Barrack Obama.
18. Pete Waterman
Pete Waterman is an English record producer, songwriter, radio and club DJ, television presenter, president of Coventry Bears rugby league club, and a keen railway enthusiast.
Pete Waterman has a vast collection of model locomotives and rolling stocks.
In fact, his fan of model trains made him a part of numerous railway ventures. Some of which is a railway maintenance business called LNWR and Waterman railways.
In a 2009 interview, he said, “Modelling is better than getting Kylie to Number One because you have to use your brain, and you are doing it with people who are as focused as you are.”
19. Gary Coleman
Gary Coleman is a dedicated model railroader whose layout was featured in the 1990 Railroad Model Craftsman Magazine. He is a fan of collecting model trains and often visits numerous train stores.
Gary Coleman is an American actor and comedian. He is considered one of the best child actors of all time and was rated first on VH1’s 100 Greatest Kid Stars.
Coleman appeared in numerous television films such as Diff’rent Strokes and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
20. Joe DiMaggio
Joe Dimaggio is a popular baseball player and a fan of Lionel trains. He is a model railroader that once appeared in Lionel’s print ads.
Joseph Paul DiMaggio, also known as Joe Dimaggio, is a fielder for the New York Yankees.
DiMaggio is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time and had a 56-game hitting streak which is a record that is still standing since 1941.
21. Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton is a popular American actor, filmmaker, and comedian. He is an avid fan of model trains, and he often features his train layouts in his movies.
In 1996, Keaton was considered the 7th greatest film director by Entertainment Weekly.
He has been involved in multiple films such as One Week, The Playhouse, and Cops.
In 1959, Keaton also received the Academy Honorary Award because of his contributions to the film industry.
22. Alfred Carlton Gilbert
Alfred Carlton Gilbert, also known as A.C. Gilbert, is one of the most popular model train enthusiasts and is one of the owners of American Flyer trains.
Before being involved in American Flyer trains, A.C. Gilbert was an American inventor, athlete, magician, and businessman.
Because of his interest in model trains, he got involved in American Flyer and made it one of the most recognized model train brands.
Contrary to popular belief, A.C. Gilbert is not the founder of American Flyer. The company was founded by two people named William Hafner and William Coleman.
However, the company flourished under A.C. Gilbert, and it became one of the known brands of model trains.
Recommended Read: If you want to know the entire history of American Flyer trains and where you can now find their models, please check this post: Everything you need to know about American Flyer trains.
23. Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is an American songwriter, musician, and model train enthusiast. Springsteen is one of the originators of the heartland rock style of music.
He is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, with 150 million sold worldwide.
In 2016, he was also awarded by Past President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He is also the 23rd place of Rolling Stone’s Greatest Artists of all Time.
24. Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland is a Canadian actor that loves collecting model trains. He won two Golden Globe Awards and was nominated 9 times.
He is also a Primetime Emmy awardee, and an inductee of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canadian Walk of Fame.
In 2017, he got the Academy Honorary Award for his contributions to cinema and filmmaking.
25. Phil Collins
Phil Collins is an avid fan of model railroading that he delayed his music album to finish his train layout.
He is known for being the drummer and lead singer of Genesis.
In the 1980s, Collins scored three UK and seven US number-one singles as a solo artist.
Collins is one of the best-selling music artists that sold over 150 million copies worldwide.
26. Bob Costas
Bob Costas is a famous American sportscaster and a model railroader. He loves collecting model trains and going to train stores.
Robert Quinlan Costas, also known as Bob Costas, is a sportscaster from NBC Sports and MLB network.
He received multiple awards such as 28 Emmy awards, 8 NSMA National Sportscaster of the Year, and 4 American Sportscasters Association Sportscaster of the Year.
27. Ed Dougherty
Ed Doughtery is a big fan of model trains. He likes collecting Lionel trains and has been featured on Model Railroader. Furthermore, he has a vast model train collection in a two-story building behind his home.
Edward Matthew “Doc” Dougherty, also known as Ed Dougherty, is a professional American golfer who had 19 top-10 finishes on PGA Tour including a win at the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic.
28. Michael Gross
Michael Gross is an American television, movie, stage actor, and model train enthusiast. He is a big fan that he made a video explaining how to build a model train layout.
Michael Gross is widely known for his role in the sitcom Family Ties as Steve Keaton.
Gross also earned the “Best Actor award” from the DVD Exclusive Awards, formerly known as the Video Premiere Awards.
He has been involved in multiple films such as Tremors, True Heart, Pizza Man, Guest House, and A Ring for Christmas.
29. Gene Hackman
Gene Hackman is an American actor, novelist, and model train enthusiast.
Hackman has been involved in numerous films such as The French Connection, Unforgiven, Bonnie and Clyde, and Superman.
His career as a novelist made him publish three novels which are Wake of the Perdido Star, Escape from Andersonville, and Justice for None.
Gene Hackman has won two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild Award, and two BAFTAs.
30. Roy Campanella
Roy Campanella is a famous American Baseball player, and his primary role is a catcher. He is an avid fan of model trains and loves building layouts. He likes Lionel trains, and there are photos circulating online with him working on his layouts.
Roy Campanella was considered to be one of the greatest catcher in the game’s history.
He was also placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
These are examples of famous model railroaders. Of course, there are more than 30 popular model railroaders. If you know other popular model railroaders, you can send me an email with their names, photo, and what they are collecting. Feel free to contact me here: Contact Page.
What’s next? Do you know the terms used to describe model railroaders? Since the hobby has been around for a long time, there are numerous names to call model railroaders, such as foamers or ferroequinologists. To see a complete list and the history behind the terms, feel free to check this post: What do you call a model train enthusiast?