He has always had an eye for a model – and his relationship with this one has so far lasted longer than each of his three marriages.
Now Rod Stewart is sailing his model railway across the sea – to be near him in his Essex home.
The impeccably detailed layout, considered a masterpiece among enthusiasts, has taken decades to build and currently lives in the attic of the singer’s Los Angeles home.
But in the surest sign yet that Sir Rod is planning a permanent move back to the UK after 45 years stateside, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that it is being shipped back to his home soil.
The 124ft-long, 23ft-wide miniature replica of a 1940s US city is to be dismantled for the journey and will be painstakingly put back together in his mansion in Sheering by the veteran singer and a team of craftsmen and women.
‘I am moving my model railroad from America over to here,’ confirms Sir Rod, who says his interest in model railways goes back to his childhood in North London.
‘It is all because my dad bought me a signal box and I was born across the railway tracks in Highgate,’ he adds.
The singer, 75, who has sold more than 250 million records and enjoyed massive hits with the likes of Sailing and Maggie May in a career spanning 59 years, started building the railway after moving to Beverly Hills in the 1990s.
It took him 23 years to complete and now includes 5ft skyscrapers, bridges, a rush-hour traffic scene, ‘transition era’ facilities for both steam and diesel traction, and a power station.
‘They say model railroads are never finished but this is finished,’ Sir Rod says. ‘When I completed it, I thought, “Jesus, what am I going to do now?” So it is all coming over and will be up and running after Christmas.’
Sir Rod Stewart has revealed he is set to go under the knife once more as he has surgery to fix his ankle.
The rock star, 75, had knee replacement surgery in January and now needs his ankle to be fused after he was recently left struggling to walk.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said: 'First of all it was my knee as I played football all my life. I am suffering for it now. My knee got fixed with a replacement and then the ankle did not know what was going on.
'It was crooked. So I have had to have an ankle fusion. So when this is all done I should have a nice straight leg and I should be able to run.
My leg has been caused by playing on awful pitches in Los Angeles. They are bone dry.'
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