As a birthday present to Stephen, we travelled to
Hamburg for the day, flying from Gatwick and getting a couple of trains
from Hamburg airport to the historic waterfront warehouse district, from
where it was a short walk to Miniatur Wunderland, the world's largest
model railway. So far over 500,000 working hours have been spent
creating the project, with many more years of expansion still planned.
It is Hamburg's biggest tourist attraction, and still sits almost
anonymous in part of an old warehouse. 1.2 million people visited in
2013, and they expect their 12-millionth visitor in 2014, hoping to add
to their tally of international visitors: currently someone has visited
from all but six of the countries and territories of the world.
Our first view of the model exhibition is of the town of Bichur in Switzerland. This section
opened in 2007 - the whole exhibition is divided into countries and
themes, in places based solidly on reality, and elsewhere being inspired
by them. Italy is currently under construction, with France, England and
Africa to follow.
The cable cars are moving as well as the trains and cranes
Roadworks on the motorway have led to a traffic jam at night
A huge open-air concert underneath a medieval fortress
Daybreak hasn't relieved the traffic jam in the background, but the
trains are still on the move
As we climb up to the next storey, we can see the impressive Landwasser
Viadukt and the spirals that curve inside the mountain allowing the
trains to gain or lose height
Our feet, with a train going past under the floor
A rack and pinion railway
The Swiss section spreads over two storeys on 250 square meters. Some
four tonnes of plaster and 15 tonnes of steel were used to build this
section. Here were are on the upper floor, looking down on the miniature
Swiss trains at night
Knuffingen Airport, based on Hamburg's airport, opened in 2011 after six
years of construction, at a cost of 3.5 million euros. It really is
impressive, seeing not only the aeroplanes taxiing, taking off and
landing, but also the buses and other airport vehicles scurrying around
An Airberlin aeroplane taxies to the terminal building while road vehicles move
about the airport - note the airbridge moving in at the end
One aeroplane lands while others queue to take off
A DHL aeroplane takes off
A Lufthansa jumbo lands
The airport at night
Even the car parks are full of detail
Below Neuschwanstein Castle is the impressive boat lift
The Austrian Alps is one of the oldest sections of the exhibition. Lots
of interest, but I'm trying to cut down the photos to a manageable
The Knuffigen section is very varied, with a large city as well as lots
of rural sections. One of the fascinations with the whole exhibit is the
people - over 215,000 figures have been placed, and many of them are
doing something amusing, different, interesting or captivating in some
In among all the more modern electric trains, Knuffingen still has a big
steam locomotive shed
An ICE train stops at Knuffingen
What are those monks looking at?
Restaurant and Control Centre
We stopped for lunch in the restaurant, where the seating is designed to
look like you are on board a train
Then had a little look at the control centre, where the staff keep an
eye on the exhibit and its trains, road vehicles and aeroplanes.
An ICE train speeds on its modern 12-metre viaduct across the older
station below - more than 130 trains run around Middle Germany
Anyone for a game of crazy golf?
Or perhaps a wander in the sunflower maze?
Or a trip to the fairground?
Meanwhile the workers and machines are hard at work mining underground
America has so much variety of scenery to offer
The fire brigade is out in force in Hamburg to tackle a blaze at the
water front. About 50,000 figures are placed in Hamburg, so it is a busy
The main station at Hamburg is impressive
The Scandinavia section of the exhibit is the largest, opened in 2005.
A delightful beach scene backed by a busy railway
The water at the beach leads on to this scene, the start of the
impressive water feature of Scandinavia, spanned by the Storebaelt
bridge with a long train crossing it.
The 30,000 litres of water ebb and flow with a 4cm tidal range, and the
fleet consists of 25 ships. Efforts to get the ships to navigate and
dock on autopilot have proved to be very challenging, and at present
they are steered manually.
At night a container ship turns as it nears the oil rig, while vehicles
cross the bridge
Looking towards the sea lock
Further round in Scandinavia, it is winter
The Kiruna ore mining operation
The residents are being well entertained
Oh dear - be careful not to fall off the roof!
Pippi Longstocking - from the books by Astrid Lindgren.
And so concluded a wonderful visit to Miniatur Wonderland - a
destination thoroughly to be recommended, and one I'm sure we will
return to one day, when there will be new sections to see, and much more
to see in the existing sections than we spotted today.