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The largest model railway system in the world: The Miniature Wonderland

David Goran

Miniatur Wunderland is a model railway attraction in Hamburg, Germany, and the largest of its kind in the world. The railway is located in the historic Speicherstadt district of the city.

Miniatur Wunderland in the Speicherstadt district of Hamburg. By Gulp/CC BY-SA 3.0.

Miniatur Wunderland in the Speicherstadt district of Hamburg. By Gulp/CC BY-SA 3.0.

In the year 2000, the two brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun set out to build the largest model railway system in the world.

After applying for a loan, the construction of the first section started in December 2000 and the first three parts were completed by August 2001.

The project was created by twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun. By gheeke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.

A project created by twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun. By gheeke/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.

 

In August 2001, the Braun brothers could already operate three sections. By spalti/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

In August 2001, the Braun brothers could already operate three sections. By spalti/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Ships sailing in real water in the Scandinavia layout. By Tobias Grosch/CC BY 3.0.

Ships sailing in real water in the Scandinavia layout. By Tobias Grosch/CC BY 3.0.

In 2012, the Wunderland completed a series of diorama representing social conditions and life in various periods of German history.

With over 50,000 “Wunderländer” (as its inhabitants are called) the 200 square meter miniature replica of Hamburg is a bustling city. It includes all of Hamburg’s main attractions such as Michel and Hagenbecks Tierpark.

View of the Hamburg section. By Tobias Grosch/CC BY 3.0.

View of the Hamburg section. By Tobias Grosch/CC BY 3.0.

 

In The Alps. By Leon petrosyan/CC BY-SA 3.0.

In The Alps. By Leon Petrosyan/CC BY-SA 3.0.

In September 2015 the railway consisted of 15,400 meters (50,525 ft) of track in HO scale, divided into seven sections.

Harz, the fictitious city of Knuffingen, the Alps and Austria, Hamburg, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland and a replica of the Hamburg Airport. Of the 6,400 square meters (68,889 sq ft) of floorspace, the model takes up 1,300 meters squared (13,993 square feet).

Visitors can admire different countries and even an airport in miniature. (Knuffingen Airport at Miniatur Wunderland). By Jim Woodward/CC BY 2.0.

Visitors can admire different countries and even an airport in miniature. (Knuffingen Airport at Miniatur Wunderland). By Jim Woodward/CC BY 2.0.

 

Railway bridge. By Leon petrosyan/CC BY-SA 3.0.

Railway bridge. By Leon Petrosyan/CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

Part of Miniatur Wunderland. Switzerland. By Leif Jørgensen/CC BY-SA 3.0.

Part of Miniatur Wunderland. Switzerland. By Leif Jørgensen/CC BY-SA 3.0.

By 2020, the exhibit is expected to have reached its final construction phase, including at least a total of ten new sections in a model area of over 2,300 m2 (24,757 sq ft).

The next section is Italy and is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. The display includes 930 trains made up of over 14,450 carriages, 335,000 lights, 228,000 trees, and 215,000 human figurines. Planning is also in progress for the construction of sections representing France, England, Africa and Australia.

Up until now the sections Hamburg, Harz, Austria, America and Scandinavia are completed. By Clemens Vasters/CC BY 2.0.

Up until now the sections Hamburg, Harz, Austria, America, and Scandinavia are completed. By Clemens Vasters/CC BY 2.0.

 

One of the most successful tourist attractions in Germany. By alex.ch/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most successful tourist attractions in Germany. By alex.ch/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

 

A football stadium based on Volksparkstadion. By Oliver Deisenroth/CC BY-SA 3.0.

A football stadium based on Volksparkstadion. By Oliver Deisenroth/CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

A truly amazing and entertaining maze of cities, countries, regions, recreations and landmarks all around the globe where visitors can enjoy looking at all the different mock-ups, trains running, airplanes taking off, soccer crowds cheering for their team, ambulances racing to hospitals. All in miniature, and all directed and synchronized by a multitude of computers.

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