If after two years of being stuck at home you’re still not comfortable with travelling yet, Germany’s Miniatur Wunderland will send you on an hour-long train ride around the world thanks to its new 360-degree camera car that recently traversed the entire route of the world’s largest model railroad.
We’ve covered model railroads small enough to be hidden away inside coffee tables and behind unassuming pieces of art hanging on a wall, and even impressively detailed setups that can be ridden from the comfort of a lifesize mockup of a train car — but nothing else on Earth comes close to the scale of Miniatur Wunderland. The popular tourist attraction, located in Hamburg, Germany, is always expanding and a decade ago added a $US5 ($7) million airport expansion complete with planes that take off and land. But trains are its focus, and as of late last year it featured almost 16,154.40 m of track — over 16 km — occupying over 1,542 sq km of space.
Snaking across the model railroad are some 1,300 trains made up of over 10,000 cars, but it’s what surrounds the trains that’s most impressive: nine distinct sections featuring detailed replicas of real-world locations like the Alps, the United States, Hamburg, Italy, and South America filled with over 100,000 vehicles, half a million working lights, and 400,000 tiny humans.
There are endless videos of Miniatur Wunderland online featuring every last region of the sprawling layout, but its creators have recently completed work on a new camera-equipped train that captures a 360-degree view from the train’s perspective, providing a unique way to experience the model railroad as its HO-scale citizens do. If you’ve got an hour to spare on a Tuesday morning (and really, who doesn’t?) the new camera car was recently sent on a voyage through all nine regions of the layout, and the entire trip has been shared on YouTube as a 360-degree video that can be panned around in all directions letting anyone explore the attraction without having to worry about masks, vaccine passports, or social distancing.