World’s largest model train setMarch 27th, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi
A miniature world, that snakes up on 12 kilometers or eight mile of track, amid fields, cities, even the snowcapped Swiss Alps, its billed as the world’s largest model train set. Recently and very effectively, Germany is becoming the biggest tourist attractions.
Twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun, 41, have turned their boyhood passion for model railroads into a lucrative private museum called Miniatur Wunderland that has kept adding track since its 2001 opening and drew 1 million visitors last year.
‘It’s a dream,’ said Gerrit Braun, who only reluctantly joined his insistent brother in the project, fearing it could be a money loser. ‘We still can’t believe how successful it’s been. Every year gets better than the year before.’
Set on three floors in an old warehouse along the Elbe River, Miniatur Wunderland features realistic replicas of parts of Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the U.S. Figurines about a half-inch (just over one-centimetre) high represent people in all walks of life.
About 20 per cent of the trains were produced by iconic German model railway maker Maerklin Holding GmbH, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month after it was unable secure new credit amid the global credit crunch.
Last month, Miniatur Wunderland ordered 150,000 euros worth of new products from the company as an expression of faith in it.
‘We believe in the brand,’ said Sebastian Drechsler, half brother to the Braun twins and one of the 180 museum employees. ‘We think it’s impossible that the brand will die.’
Tags: alps, bankruptcy protection, boyhood, centimetre, drechsler, elbe river, frederik, german model, germany switzerland, gerrit, global credit crunch, model railroads, model railway, model train, money loser, old warehouse, private museum, replicas, walks of life, wunderland