- Title: GERMANY: Hamburg claims world's largest model railway
- Date: 3rd April 2009
- Summary: CHILDREN WATCHING
- Embargoed: 18th April 2009 13:00
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA5FBDFJ8Y87JAKOBMR8U30W8EA
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Have you ever wanted to go from Switzerland to Scandinavia in a few steps, and then from the Rocky Mountains to a DJ Bobo concert? In the northern German city of Hamburg it is possible.
Hamburg has a constantly expanding miniature wonderland. According to creators, the construction is not only the biggest model railway in the world, but also a dream come true for most of the workers.
A 120-strong team made up of young and old, painters, electricians, artists and lighting professionals are constantly work on the steady expansion of the miniature wonderland. To date it is divided into several sections: Hamburg, Austria, the Harz mountains, America, Scandinavia, three Swiss Cantons and Knuffingen, a fictional town created solely for the wonderland.
All the sections are created with loving detail so they look as real as possible.
"In order to keep the title of biggest model railway in the world we have to guarantee that a train can travel from here to Scandinavia,"
Sebastian Drechsler, press officer for the Miniature Railway Wonderland told Reuters Television.
"Around twelve metres of track lie between the two points. In Switzerland alone there are three kilometres of tracks so that the small trains can manage these tiny inclines. In the mountains themselves there are spiralling tracks that lead to the top. After a year and a half of planning we have managed to bridge this six metre gap with three kilometres of track."
In 2000, Frederik Braun, the miniature wonderland's creator, came up with the idea for his project. Back then he had no idea that over one million visitors a year would visit his 7000 square metre world.
But, he says, he doesn't want it to stop here: "When we began, we thought we were building a fantasy. But we soon realised: hey, why don't we build it realistically? Then we recreated America. And today, we are saying to ourselves, if we keep getting so many visitors, the world is so big so I don't mind if we build everything!"
The area is set to be developed to at last 10,000 square metres by 2015. Financially, Braun says, that shouldn't be a problem because the creators have decided to sell a few bits of their attraction and are determined that the most expensive bit of earth in the world will be situated in their miniature wonderland.
In an Ebay auction an A4 size piece of 'land' sold for more than 10,000 Euro, Braun said.
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