Famous Railfans?

Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

What a coincidence!!!

Postby Aa3rt » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:07 am

After making my post last night, I happened to stumble across a show on PBS about old barns. While normally I probably wouldn't have given this show a second glance, one of the barns featured had originally been on the Disney estate.

It turns out that Walt Disney was born in Chicago but that his family moved to Missouri (not Kansas as I originally thought) when Walt was four years of age.

The barn in Griffith Park is a copy of the barn that was on the Disney farm in Missouri, with extra windows added. This barn had been the workshop that Walt used as the headquarters for his 1/8" scale live-steam miniature railroad. It is now open to the public one weekend a month and is in Griffith Park near the miniature railway that still transports visitors. (Incidentally the only Disney attraction in the world with no admission fee.)

The curator of the museum said that his father had been in the employ of Mr. Disney and that he would go to the Disney estate on weekends to assist running the railroad. Lots of people would attend these weekend operating sessions. The curator included an impressive list of celebrities who had an interest in the railroad. Reportedly Walt was growing concerned about the popularity of the railroad due to the growing crowds. Then in 1950 he made a trip to London and purchased a British 4-6-0 steamer (I believe that it was modeled after a Great Western prototype.) that was larger than the 1/8" scale locomotives and rolling stock already in his collection. The purchase of this larger locomotive coupled with the need for a larger area to run trains is supposedly the impetus that gave Walt the idea for Disneyland.

An aside-I remember reading that Ray Kroc (of McDonald's fame) had served with Walt Disney in the US Ambulance Corps during WW1. Mr. Kroc reportedly stated that they thought Mr. Disney "would never amount to anything" as he spent all of his time drawing pictures of animals. :wink:

The railroads at Disneyland are 5/8' scale (running on 3 foot gauge tracks). I remember growing up in the early 1960's-watching "The Wonderful World of Disney" was a Sunday staple and seeing Walt giving updates or "progress reports" on the construction of Disneyland.
Art Audley, AA3RT
Moderator: Railroad Radio & Communications, Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV and other Media, General Discussion: Fallen Trolley & Interurban Lines, General Discussion: Shortline, Industrial & Military Railroads,
User avatar
Aa3rt
 
Posts: 849
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:09 pm
Location: La Plata, MD, MP 38.8 on the Pope's Creek sub

Postby steamal » Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:17 am

Aa3rt wrote:MikeB-here are some that come readily to my mind.

Walt Disney and Ward Kimball. IIRC, Mr. Kimball was an animator for Disney Studios and had a huge collection of vintage toy trains as well as a 3-foot gauge steamer (the 2-6-0 Emma Nevada from the Nevada Central) running on his property.

For more on Ward Kimball, check out this link:

http://www.oerm.org/pages/GF.htm

I've seen photos of Mr. Disney at the Chicago Railroad Fair, held in the late 1940's, inspecting the equipment on display. I believe that it was Mr. Disney's interest in railroads that was instrumental in the train rides being an integral part of Disneyland in southern California.

For more on Walt Disney's interest in railroads, follow this link:

http://waltstoytrains.railfan.net/home1.htm

While not necessarily railfans, Frank Sinatra and Roy Campanella (former Brooklyn Dodgers catcher, until his career was cut short by a tragic auto accident) were well known Lionel collectors. In fact, Joe D. narrated a television show titled "Tales of the Red Caboose", basically a Lionel advertising program, on New York television in the early 1950's.

O. Winston Link, professional photographer by trade, made himself and the Norfolk and Western famous with his photos of the end of steam on that railroad. (See the thread already devoted to him.)

Sportswriter Stan Fischler has also written a couple of volumes on the New York City subways.

Rogers E. M. Whitaker, noted writer for the New York Times, and later the New Yorker magazine, wrote many articles on rail travel under the nom de plume E. M. Frimbo. He is quoted as having said "I became a sports writer...so that someone would have to pay me to go by train to universities in the eastern part of the United States and report on their winter sports". He is credited with having travelled over 2 million miles by train. His book, "All Aboard with E. M. Frimbo-World's Greatest Railroad Buff" is a classic and worth searching out.

Michael Palin, of Monty Python's Flying Circus fame, called himself a "trainspotter" and narrated a couple of programs on PBS involving travel. My favorite, from 20+ years ago was of his travels in England in the "Great Railway Journeys of the World" series.

The late singer Johnny Cash also had an interest in railroads-he had a variety show on television in the late 1960's that always included a segment with railroads. I can still remember the song that started out "Come along and ride this train..."

The late "Boxcar Willie" was another country singer with roots in railroading and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the "Singing Brakeman", Jimmie Rodgers who spent a stint with the Southern Railroad before eventually finding fame in the music industry.[Jimmie Rodgers was the first country star.]

A couple of others who came to mind after my first post...

Ellis D. Atwood of Edaville fame.

F. Nelson Blount who started the "Steamtown" collection.

Fred Rogers of "Mr. Rogers Neighborhood" fame.

[I never knew Mr. Rogers was a railfan.]

Joshua Lionel Cowen-while most wouldn't know who Joshua Cowen is, mention "Lionel" and you usually immediately think of model trains.
steamal
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:02 pm

Postby BMT » Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:44 pm

While not necessarily railfans, Frank Sinatra and Roy Campanella (former Brooklyn Dodgers catcher, until his career was cut short by a tragic auto accident) were well known Lionel collectors. In fact, Joe D. narrated a television show titled "Tales of the Red Caboose", basically a Lionel advertising program, on New York television in the early 1950's.


How can we forget about the Chairman of the Board?! Since Frank S. has been brought up I should mention that I was once told that Frank had visited FAO Schwarz in NYC and was so impressed with the Lionel layout that was there that he requested a duplicate be built in the basement of his house. This might have been in the '50s, not sure.

However, I am also aware that Ol' Blue Eyes had a 10-car set of brass NYCTA subway cars made exclusively for himself. The story goes that Frank was impatient with the craftsman and only accepted the first five cars. The other five he did not take, and over the years ended up in the hands of a noted subway train model collector (they were displayed at a train show in NJ a couple of years ago). I would assume that Frank's set remains in the Sinatra estate. BTW, the cars were beautifully hand-crafted O-gauge models of the famed R-1/9 subway cars (currently being produced by MTH).
BMT
 
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:05 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

A Little More on the Disney Brothers

Postby 2nd trick op » Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:58 pm

It might also be noted that the boyhood home of Walt and Roy Disney was Marcelline, Mo, which was a Santa Fe division point until the late 1980's.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)
2nd trick op
 
Posts: 1555
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 8:40 pm
Location: Nescopeck, PA ..... CP/NS Sunbury Line MP 715

Postby David Benton » Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:27 pm

Speaking of famous Railroad .net contributors , Whats happened to Crazy Nip ??? . I don't know if Rod Stewart is famous in The states , but he will feature in model railroader magazine .
Moderator worldwide railfan , Rail travel & trip reports
The only train trips I regret are the ones I didn't take.
User avatar
David Benton
 
Posts: 6541
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:29 am
Location: New Zealand

Postby Aa3rt » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:09 pm

Aa3rt wrote:Another entertainment figure who died in recent years (and whose name escapes me at the moment) recently had his Lionel collection auctioned off on Ebay.


Almost 3 years after making this post it occurred to me that the person I was trying to remember was Mel Torme. By doing a Google search on "Mel Torme" and "Lionel Trains" I managed to stumble across this list of well known people who are identified as model railroaders:

http://boldts.net/TrainsCelebs.shtml
Art Audley, AA3RT
Moderator: Railroad Radio & Communications, Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV and other Media, General Discussion: Fallen Trolley & Interurban Lines, General Discussion: Shortline, Industrial & Military Railroads,
User avatar
Aa3rt
 
Posts: 849
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:09 pm
Location: La Plata, MD, MP 38.8 on the Pope's Creek sub

Admiral Isaac J. Kidd, Jr. USN

Postby jhdeasy » Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:02 pm

The late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd Jr. USN (former Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic) was a railroad enthusiast and model railroader. When I worked for his son (Captain Isaac C. Kidd III USNR) at the Naval Audit Service, circa 1991, he told me that his father would take a small model railroad layout, that folded up into a suitcase, with him when he went to sea. I know Admiral Kidd and W. Graham Claytor were friends; they had both been junior surface warfare officers in WWII and later in life Claytor (when SECNAV) was KIdd's boss (when CINCLANTFLT/SACLANT). His son told me he remembered some rides with his dad in railroad business cars (ATSF / SP / UP ?) when they lived in San Diego, maybe in the 1960s.
jhdeasy
 
Posts: 1545
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 2:16 pm
Location: Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby IC&E6565 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:46 pm

Actor Kevin Costner is reported to own a steam engine.

Patrick Stewart of "Star Trek - Next Generation" fame is reported to be a rail-fan

Singer Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin is reported to be a rail-fan.
IC&E6565
 

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby GSC » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:46 pm

No one mentioned Ross Rowland. As far as the general public is concerned, he is known for establishing the American Freedom Train in 1976. We "enthusiasts" know of quite a few of his other endeavors.

Edgar T. Meade wrote several books on narrow gauge railroads around the world.
A lone work glove on the side of the road tells me that somewhere, some guy is rummaging through his truck muttering, "Dammit."
GSC
 
Posts: 1523
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:10 pm
Location: NY&LB MP 29.2

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby steamal » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:58 pm

IC&E6565 wrote:Actor Kevin Costner is reported to own a steam engine.

.


Are we talking model-train size (HO gauge, for instance,) the size of the John Bull, or the size of #1218?
steamal
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:02 pm

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby jscola30 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:09 am

Mandy Patainkan.
jscola30
 
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:18 am

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:23 am

The late Tom Snyder was a fan and ran a Lionel layout.
~Paul Joyce~~HELP STOP VICIOUS SMALL ANIMAL TORTURE IN CHINESE FUR FARMS !
Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam
Remember Boston Police Sergeant Cornelius H. Donovan, who in 1921 heroically prevented a derailed Elevated car from crushing a loaded streetcar below.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5651
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:10 am
Location: Boston

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby steamal » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:25 pm

3rdrail wrote:The late Tom Snyder was a fan and ran a Lionel layout.


Really? I never knew! Now I wish I had known!
steamal
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:02 pm

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby 3rdrail » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:36 pm

Yes, he was a big buff and had a good sized layout. Here he is talking with Mandy Patinkin about their layouts. Mandy continues to be a big buff.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RTcaJmoYLI
~Paul Joyce~~HELP STOP VICIOUS SMALL ANIMAL TORTURE IN CHINESE FUR FARMS !
Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam
Remember Boston Police Sergeant Cornelius H. Donovan, who in 1921 heroically prevented a derailed Elevated car from crushing a loaded streetcar below.
User avatar
3rdrail
 
Posts: 5651
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:10 am
Location: Boston

Re: Famous Railfans?

Postby Kamen Rider » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:52 pm

Rod Stewart has been quoted as rather being in Model Railroader than on the cover of Rolling Stone. He's got atleast two layouts; one in his LA home of the NYC and PRR in the 1940's, and one in his home near London of the East Coast Main.
仮面ライダー / Kamen Rider
Rider JUMP! Rider KICK!
Kamen Rider
 
Posts: 615
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:34 am
Location: NYC

PreviousNext

Return to Railroads in Books, Magazines, Music, TV, and Movies, and other Media

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest