Exploring the World’s Largest Model Railway

Once Aircraft Interiors Expo and the World Travel Catering Expo were over, my friend and I had spare time in the afternoon to visit Hamburg. We used the Hamburg U-Bahn underground and headed to Miniatur Wunderland.

Opened in 2000, Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model railway and also one of the most popular permanent exhibition in Northern Germany. As of today, there are nine sections of the Wunderland which are Hartz/Central Germany, Knuffingen, Alps/Austria, Hamburg, United States, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Knuffingen Airport and Italy. The work is far from over as the team is working on expanding the exhibition thru the following years to come.

The Knuffingen Airport was definitely my favourite section of Miniatur Wunderland. I wonder why?

The Knuffingen Airport was definitely my favourite section of Miniatur Wunderland. I wonder why?

I personally thought the airport was awesome. The designers paid attention to every detail. One thing that is amazing about this airport is that you can visually see the aircraft takeoff and land on the runway. Additionally, the planes can move around the airport and even head to a gate. Once the aircraft is parked at a gate, the jet bridge will move and align with the aircraft’s main door.

A Gate Gourmet truck loaded with beverages and meals.

A Gate Gourmet truck loaded with beverages and meals.

Even the baggage loading vehicles and the catering truck pictured above can move around the airport. The airport, the planes and the small trucks all had lights. You could even see the orange blinker of a truck that was turning left or right at an intersection.


From back to front: Lufthansa (Boeing 747), Air Berlin (Airbus A330), Air France (Boeing 777), China Eastern (Airbus A330) and Emirates (Boeing 777).

The airport's schedule.

The airport’s schedule.

It was cool to see the actual schedule of the airport published. While looking at the schedule, you could anticipate what aircraft and airline would be the next departure and arrival.

Even though we spent most of our time at the model airport, we managed to visit the nine sections of the exhibition. There was a lot to see!

Grand Canyon, Nevada.

Grand Canyon, Nevada.

Pictured above is the Grand Canyon that can be found in the state of Nevada. It was fascinating to see the lively city of Las Vegas at night.

Train station.

Train station.

Visitors can find railways in multiple sections of the exhibition. Like the airplanes, the  trains move around the cities from station to station.

I would call it a "Centre of Operations."

I would call it the “Centre of Operations.”

It was intriguing to see “behind the scenes” of how everything worked to make this Miniatur Wunderland an attractive place to stop by. I believe these employees were  controlling and monitoring some of the trains, cars, boats, airplanes, aerial tramways, chairlifts, etc. I am sure there is automation involved but they need humans to make everything work perfectly.

I really enjoyed spending a few hours in this “miniature world.” If you visit Hamburg, I would totally recommend you to go take a look. Tickets are only €9 per person!

Until next time!


Aircraft Interiors Expo #AIX2017

Last week, I was in Germany to attend Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg Messe. The event welcomed more than 550 exhibitors from all around the world. Every year, more than 14,000 aviation professionals, airlines and international press go to Hamburg for AIX. The event is huge and covers approximately 24,000 metres square (258,334 feet square) of flooring. As you can see below, the large floor plan includes different buildings that are a walking distance from each other.

Below is a list of the major products you can find at Aircraft Interiors Expo:

  • Seats (First, Business Premium Economy and Economy)
  • Seats fabrics
  • Seats armrests
  • Seat power ports (110V and USB)
  • Racks that hold seats on the floor
  • Carpets for flooring
  • Cabin lighting
  • Galley carts
  • Lavatories
  • Inflight Entertainment (IFE)
  • And more!

Major News Announced

  • Zodiac Aerospace unveiled an economy seat for the Boeing 777X.
  • Hawaiian Airlines showed their future A321neo cabin interior by JPA Design
  • Recaro presented the Smart Cabin Reconfiguration for the A320 family. It revealed a quick way to swap seats between higher-density economy and more spacious Eurobusiness seats.
  • Airbus announced a new cabin version of its jumbo jet to accommodate an additional 80 seats.
  • ATR partnered with Geven to offer an increased seat width from 17″ to a more comfortable 18″.
  • Molon Labe updates its Slide-Slip Seat: the aisle seat slips over the middle seat for expedited boarding process.
  • Altran presented an autonomous robot trolley that can drive itself through the aisle.
  • HAECO Cabin Solutions offers a cocktail tray and PDE holder that will be offered on the Vector premium seat.

Hawaiian Airlines A321neos will feature both First Class and Economy seats manufactured by B/E Aerospace. (Photo: Hawaiian Airlines)

World Travel Catering Expo (WTCE)

A l'Olivier, based in Paris, provides olive oil dressing for salads to airlines such as Air Canada.

A l’Olivier, based in Paris, provides olive oil dressing for salads to airlines such as Air Canada.

On the other side of the road was held the World Traveling Catering Expo (WTCE). On-site, visitors had the opportunity to try and sample anything from munchies to First class level cuisine. Many of the major airline catering providers (gategroup, dnata and LSG Group) were at the event. There were also many smaller companies I have never heard before.

There were many small firms that provided important products for the food catering industry, such as the aluminum foil that cover the hot meals in economy. You could also find different sizes of aluminum containers for meals, plastic cups for drinks and various sizes and shapes of cutlery. There were also providers of amenity kits for premium cabins, as well as companies that design crew uniforms.

Overview of one of the two WTCE exhibit.

Overview of one of the two WTCE exhibits.

While walking, I saw a cleaning machine that was spinning vertically to clean galley carts. It sprayed water and soap and the centrifugal force disinfected the beverage trolleys for their next flight. It was pretty amazing to watch!

As an #avgeek, it was impressive to see all those providers. There are so many that you would not think at first. I definitely hope to go back next year for the 2018 edition!

Until next time!