Page last updated at 23:19 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Model railway's global uber-view


The railway's creators wanted people to be 'astonished and amazed'

Rail enthusiasts can now enjoy views of Scandinavian fjords, the Swiss Alps, and even Mount Rushmore - in Germany.

Twin brothers Frederick and Gerrit Braun have built Europe's longest model railway in the city of Hamburg.

It has six miles of track, cost £8m to build and its 1,150 square metres (12,380 square feet) take in the US, Scandinavia and the Swiss Alps.

By the time the layout is completed in 2014 it will be twice as long and will take in France, Italy and the UK.

By then it should be the longest miniature railway in the world.

The Braun brothers, 41, began work on the Miniatur Wunderland project in 2000.

Their model railway now comprises 700 trains with 10,000 carriages, 900 signals, 2,800 buildings and 160,000 individually designed figures.

It even includes scale models of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, the Swiss Matterhorn, and a Scandinavian fjord complete with 4ft cruise ship.

The scenery took 500,000 hours, 700kg of fake grass and 4,000kg of steel to build.

So large is the layout that 160 staff are employed to show visitors around the railway.

"Our idea was to build a world that men, women, and children can be equally astonished and amazed in," said Gerrit Braun, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"With this attitude we managed to create technology which amazes our visitors."

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