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Rod Stewart's "hidden track" inside his Beverly Hills home

Rod Stewart's "hidden track" inside his Beverly Hills home

He has long been known as a railway enthusiast, even if at times he chose not to talk about it. But Sir Rod Stewart's legendary choo-choo layout -–26 years in the making – just has to be seen to be believed.

The rocker's astonishingly detailed 124ft long x 23ft wide model depicting an American city and its industrial hinterland in the 1940s contains hundreds of buildings, from trackside switchman shanties to vast factories and skyscrapers.

Called Grand Street And Three Rivers City, it also features a railway station crossed by numerous bridges at rush hour.

Also featured in the landscape are period cars and lorries, driving alongside the train tracks.

Everything is dramatically lit in the colours of late afternoon sunshine.

Sir Rod told Railway Modeller magazine that scenery and structure modelling, rather than locomotives, trackwork or electrics, are his forte.

"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," he said.

Sir Rod was inspired by American Railways because that is where we has living when he began creating the model in 1993.

At the time, he had recently built a new house in Los Angeles and included an attic room specifically for the layout.

While Sir Rod acknowledged it took a while for him to publicly admit he was a railway enthusiast, he agreed in his interview with the magazine that attitudes now appear to be changing towards model railway making.

But he added that he was still wary about answering questions on TV about it because "it's hard to talk about something so all-encompassing" if he was meant to be discussing his music.

His passion was first inflamed when he was "eight or nine" on a family holiday in Bognor Regis where he saw a "marvellous" railway layout in a model shop.

He said his father had once given him the advice that "every man needs a hobby".

"Mine's model railway," said Sir Rod, who had a toy railway as a child. When he wanted a station for it, his dad bought him a guitar instead, which many might think turned out to be a shrewd move.

His fortune stands at £190 million, according to the Sunday Times' UK Musicians' Rich List, and he has had nine No 1 albums and 62 hit singles in the UK.

Sir Rod said guests are stunned by his magnificent model railway when he runs it for them at his LA home. He said: 'When I take on something creative like this, I have to give it 110 per cent. 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!"

Photos: Facebook and Model Railroader Magazine