‘knuffingen’ miniature airport, newly opened at miniatur wunderland in hamburg, germany

hamburg’s ‘miniatur wunderland‘, the world’s largest model railway exhibit, has just officially opened ‘knuffingen airport’, a computer-controlled miniature airport replete with moving cars and trains, working lights, and airplanes that continually take off and land in the space.

measuring 150 square meters (1615 square feet), the airport has been under development since may 2004, at a cost of approximately 150,000 working hours and 3.5 million euros (4.8 million USD). the results feature the realistic taxiing and flight of a fleet of 40 airplanes, alongside trains, cargo vehicles that navigate the runway-lit environs of the control center and airport. the planes are run on two metal rods, propelled by a cable drag chain. as with the rest of ‘miniatur wunderland’, navigation on land is accomplished through a system of magnets.

video footage of ‘knuffingen airport’

knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland modeled after hamburg’s airport, ‘knuffingen’ is not without miniature traffic of its own image courtesy of gawker

to date, ‘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 working 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 5500 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 the harbour and st. pauli piers. all scenes are designed for both day and night lighting.

knuffingen miniature airport at miniatur wunderland the fire service of the fictitious city of knuffingen

continually in construction, ‘miniatur wunderland’ plans to next feature france and italy, expecting by 2020 to double its current size, with a final model area that includes twelve sections over 2300 square meters (24,757 square feet). for more detailed information regarding the exhibit and its individual sections, please see ‘wunderland facts‘ on their website.  currently employing a staff of 185, the project was founded in 2000 by twin brothers frederick and gerrit braun.

video overview of ‘miniatur wunderland’

video footage of the construction of ‘knuffingen airport’

behind-the-scenes footage and interview about the technical specs behind ‘knuffingen airport’ open in youtube and click the ‘interactive transcript’ button below the video to see english translation

‘night’ footage of the airport