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Fascinating train by train

The Model Railway layout shows what happens on rails and roads on a scale of 1:87. The focus is on the railroad system - with the most realistic representation possible of physics, technology and infrastructure and the associated driving operations. In addition to the rail vehicles, buses, road sweepers, fire engines and the like are also on the road, creating even more traffic on the 44-square-meter, digitally controlled layout. To sharpen the view of the colourful traffic, the buildings and the landscape of the model world are kept in neutral white. Everything that moves us, on the other hand, is designed in rich detail and can be seen in colour.

Next stop: Wernmünden! The Model Railway layout depicts a fictitious town in Lower Franconia, focusing on typical traffic events in the mid-1990s from the founding of Deutsche Bahn AG. Old and new structures are still mixed here: Small stations including freight sheds on branch lines and modern high-speed lines for ICE traffic exist side by side. The small model town of Wernmünden is connected to long-distance and local transport. In addition to commuter trains, streetcars and buses, it even has a harbour and a cogwheel railroad up a hill. “Track layout, signals, driving physics, operating procedures - we are as close to the large prototype as is possible in the 1:87 scale model,” says curator Lukas Breitwieser, “Here, our visitors can marvel at a miniaturized section of the railroad system.”

By the way, the hills in this miniature world have it all: Inside them are spiral-shaped tracks that the railroads use to get from one level to the other. This is because the trains not only run in the visible area on the surface, but also in the so-called shadow area - which is basically a large parking and shunting area underneath the layout. Glimpses of this “underworld” are provided by a window on the narrow end wall right next to the control room, which is to the left of the entrance door as you come in from the Robotics exhibition. “For the highly automated program sequence, not only did the movements of the vehicles on rail and road have to be programmed and timed, but also the control of the room lighting, audio and video systems had to match the timetable exactly – a real programming challenge,” says curator Breitwieser.

Additionally along the wall, texts and graphics describe the world of railroad models. At the level of the center, there are tactile models to make the fascination more tangible. And on the front wall of the exhibition, the history of the railroad in Germany is told.  

Facts and figures:
Location: Level 0
Exhibition area: 260 sqm
Area of the model railroad: 44 sqm
Scale: 1:87
Train sets: 36
Longest train: 4,5 m
Moving road vehicles: approx. 20
Track length: approx. 750 m
Turnouts: 185

The Model Railway is demonstrated several times a day. If trains, trucks, buses etc. are not running, the construction of the layout can be seen on a large screen behind the model world.