Knuffingen Miniature Airport, Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg, Germany’s ‘Miniatur Wunderland‘, the world’s largest model railway exhibit, has just officially opened ‘Knuffingen Airport’, a computer-controlled miniature airport complete with moving cars and trains, working lights, and airplanes that continually take off and land in the space. Gerrit and Frederik Braun opened the model airport together with special guests Niki Lauder, F1 World Champion and airline entrepreneur, and Olaf Scholz, mayor of Hamburg.
Measuring over 150m² the model airport sees 40 different aircrafts taking off and landing, up to 360 times, daily.
‘Miniatur Wunderland’ as a whole features eight zones: the landscapes of Harz and Austria, the fantasy city of Knuffingen, Hamburg and the German coast, America, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and now the airport.
Over 500,000 man hours have produced an elaborately detailed model, where approximately 890 trains (the largest measuring 14.5 meters, or 47.5 feet, in length) travel several hundred kilometers each day, traversing the snowy alps, verdant countryside, and well-known landmarks.
The Tour: –
At your on-site visit, you can take a glance behind the scenes of this new layout. The guided tour starts at the control station, from where you will be guided underneath the “Swiss Mountains” where you will find gigantic staging yards, and can see the impressive wiring of the layout. Next, you will be led to the Airport layout, past “Castle Neuschwanstein” to the Lufthansa Service Hanger.
From there, you have an exclusive view over the entire Airport, and you get a close-up of the vehicles’ operation. The next station is the aircraft elevator, the connection between the take-off and landing strip, and those levels hidden underneath the layout. The tour continues along the runway until the recharging stations, where you can watch the vehicles getting “filled-up”.
The 5,500 cars in the display are controlled by a computerized ‘carsystem’. 200,000 stationary human figures go about their daily lives in the space, which features moving chairlifts along the slopes, a carnival, emergency vehicles with blinking lights, a homicide investigation, and hundreds of other small scenes and features. ‘America’ includes recreations of the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (with over 30,000 lights), the Rocky Mountains, native Pueblo villages, Miami, and the purported UFO hub of area 51; while the miniaturized Hamburg is complete with St. Michaels Church, the Imtec Arena, Hagenbecks Zoo and St. Pauli piers, all scenes are designed for both day and night lighting.
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