Visit the most diverse regions of the world in just a single day: explore Las Vegas, the Alps or the Norwegian fjords in only a few hours − it is possible in the Miniatur Wunderland. Located directly along the Elbe river in Hamburg's Speicherstadt (traditional warehouse district), it features the largest model railway in the world and is one of the most exciting tourist attractions in Germany. Far more than ten million visitors have marvelled at this wonderland in the meantime, which – in an area that is some 1,300 m² large – replicates in miniature sights from Scandinavia to the USA, from quayside to the mountains peaks of our world.
Life in all its facets.
The reason being that Miniatur Wunderland offers much more than 'just' a huge model railway. In addition to the 930 trains, which travel several hundred kilometres each day, visitors of all generations can observe the 8,850 automobiles and ships and even more than 200,000 tiny residents. They visit big festivals or memorial ceremonies, police set up radar traps and chase after criminals, the fire brigade is constantly responding to calls − life in all its varied facets can be seen in Wunderland. Among the most recently completed sections is the Knuffingen Airport. From the engineering hangar to the arrivals and departures terminal, the airport amazes with its many dotingly meticulous details. 40 airplanes start and land here daily.
The impressive scenery conceals one-of-a-kind high-tech: "One of our key principles has always been to face every technical challenge, no matter how hopeless the situation might seem at the outset. With this attitude we have managed to create technologies which cause amazement among visitors", says Gerrit Braun, who founded Miniatur Wunderland together with his brother Frederik. Some 335,000 lights, which dynamically switch on and off, combined with a self-developed light control system provide for a nearly perfect day and night simulation. Numerous vehicles and aircraft are computer-controlled or can be set in motion by visitors with one of the more than 200 pushbuttons.
Drives from FAULHABER.
For many of these pushbutton-activated functions, the DC-micromotors from FAULHABER provide for the movement. "We employ various FAULHABER series depending on what the purpose requires", explains system technician Mathias Stamm. For the aircraft models of the Knuffingen Airport, motors of the 1717 series are utilised. The little fire brigade of the airport and many trains are also driven by FAULHABER motors. For example, the intricate 1524 motors provide for the movement of a roll-up gate. "There, the motor is internally integrated and upwardly winds the gate around itself", describes Stamm.
Reliable and professional.
What speaks in favour of FAULHABER motors, in Mathias Stamm's opinion, is for one thing the technical reliability. "The FAULHABER motors are of the utmost in quality and run maintenance-free", emphasizes the technician. For another thing, it is the professional support, that has also convinced him. "We order somewhat smaller quantities", mentions Stamm. "Nevertheless, when questions arise we have direct access to the telephone support of FAULHABER."
Miniature train races in British television.
In 2011 the Miniatur Wunderland was also able to score points at a special event for British television thanks to FAULHABER technology. The well-known BBC presenter James May appeared in a miniature train competition against Miniatur Wunderland in his Sunday evening show. The task was to most quickly travel the nine miles (which corresponds to roughly 15 kilometres) of railway line from Bideford to Barnstaple, which is no longer in use today, with a model railway. Accordingly, the stretch was first laid with small rail tracks before the start of the race. For the show, Miniatur Wunderland came up with a special gag. "We developed a train that ran on sauerkraut fuel. We then had it dramatically blown up half way there, but with another train we were first to cross the finish line", recounts Gerrit Braun. The locomotives for this race had been first refitted with FAULHABER micromotors in order to be up to the demanding task.
Two brothers and one idea.
The early days of the impressive Miniatur Wunderland go back to the summer of 2000. It was Frederik Braun who, during a stroll through the Alpine metropolis of Zurich, had the flash of inspiration. He was ambling through the back alleyways of downtown Zurich and stumbled upon a model train shop that rekindled his childhood memories and inspired him to a vision. On the very same day he called his twin brother Gerrit and proposed building the world's greatest model railway. The project was born. Soon, construction began on the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg's Speicherstadt district, and the work continues to this date. Up to now, the facility has grown to eight sections covering over 1,300 square metres. 300 employees build and maintain it, and take care of the visitors.
By 2020 four further sections will be added. Presently an Italian section is being built. Over the space of 150 square metres, well-known Italian cities, dreamy vistas and mountain panoramas, architectural masterpieces and the Roman tramway are now evolving in small-scale. In addition to the Italian capital city of Rome, parts of Venice – with the golden Saint Mark's Basilica – are being planned, just as well as the volcano Vesuvius and the buried city of Pompei. The opening is planned for the end of 2015.
Miniatur Wunderland leased floorspace: 6,400 m2
Model area: 1,300 m²
Construction time: approx. 580,000
Construction costs: EUR 12,500,000
Total track length: 13,000 m
Rail carriages: over 14,450
Longest train: 14.51 m
Lights: approx. 335,000
Buildings & bridges: 3,660
Human figurines: 215,000
Aircraft (flying): 40