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Miniatur Wunderland – World’s Largest Model Railway

Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, is home to the world’s largest model railway, with miniature replicas of famous destinations around Europe and America. They have a massive car system and the whole thing is full of secrets of how they did it. Encompassing over 1,150 square meters, all housed within a large complex centrally located in Hamburg, the Wunderland is an impressive display of engineering and detail. The model trains travel through the replicated landscapes of Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and, although geographically implausible, the United States (there is even a miniature rendering of Mount Rushmore!).

In May 2011, the next section of Miniatur Wunderland was opened and it’s covering an airport. The exhibit includes 890 trains, 11,000 carriages, 215,000 trees and 300,000 individual lights and 200,000 human figurines (Source: Wikipedia). The track lengh of 5.6 miles has set the world record for the largest miniature railroad. It has been build during approx 500,000 working hours and it’s costed $14.16 million USD.


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How It Began

Frederik Braun and his girlfriend were visiting the alpine town of Zurich in July 2000. Sauntering through the alleys of Zurich’s centre, they came across a railway model shop, which at once evoked childhood memories in Frederik.

Same day he called his twin brother Gerrit and and surprised him with the following words: “We are going to build the largest model railway in the world.” Gerrit, who is more rational and skeptical by nature, he didn’t take this idea too seriously. However, after having received about six more calls from Frederik enthusiastically presenting new ideas about this, Gerrit realized that his brother was very serious about it. So, he started thinking about the project from an economic and technical point of view.

Gerrit had been infected by this concept as well. The two brothers passed the coming days intensely planning their dream despite many doubts and misgivings from their environment. Only a few days after Zurich’s enlightenment both of them were sure that they would engage in this adventure.

The Miniatur Wunderland World

The Miniatur Wunderland has been constantly growing since 2001. Having started with two layout areas, Harz and Southern Germany, it has opened the eighth area, Knuffingen Airport, in May 2011. More layout areas have already been planned until the year 2014.

Other areas currently include: Hamburg, Austria, United States of America, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland. The next two destinations slated to be built are France and Italy.

All parts are built to a scale of 1:87. Much of the technology is custom-created as many of the stock components were not designed for continuous operation.

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Visiting Miniatur Wunderland

The Wunderland is open year round from 9:30am – 6:00pm. Guided and behind the scenes tours can be booked in both German and English.

Image Source: Miniatur-wunderland.com

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