Friday 31st August to Sunday 2nd September
© Text & Photos: Stuart Smith
Our group met at St Pancras International in plenty of time for the 08:31 Eurostar service to Amsterdam Central. Heavy queues for earlier departures were still snaking their way through the ordinary check-
As had been the same a few weeks previous when I travelled through to Brussels, the holiday crowds (and very slow customs checks by the French border patrol) were causing havoc, with the 07:01 to Paris Nord & 07:19 to Marseille St Charles both meeting with delays as a result. Fortunately, our service was able to depart on-
Trains through to Amsterdam are required to be operated by the newer e320 Eurostar sets, and ours was 374005/4006. A non-
A brief stop in Rotterdam was followed by our arrival into Schipol Airport station. Here we were greeted with the ominous news that our train would be terminated due to a major police incident unfolding at Amsterdam Central itself.
With our onward connection towards Germany scheduled to start from Amsterdam, we quickly decided upon an alternative plan and made our way to Amersfoort, where we could intercept our intended service. Here we had time for lunch in one of the station restaurants, plus also to view the items of heritage rolling stock parked adjacent to the platforms. These included a former NS Class 1200 Electric loco (1251) and two “Dog-
Eurostar 9114 at St Pancras International
Preserved Class 1200 (1251) and a Dog-
ICM EMU, 4244 at Amersfoort. These units are nicknamed Koploper, because when originally built they had a so-
Having returned to the main station, we suddenly found our train change from ‘on-
NS 1752 arrives at Amesfoot
Our next stop was at Osnabrück, where we were due to connect into a train towards Hamburg. As we were still running around an hour late, we had missed our original connection, but an alternative was available, although we would have to be quick!!
We just made it, even with the split level platform change, and found seats in the restaurant car, where we ordered an evening meal. I hadn’t thought about having entertainment whilst on board, however, the comedy value of watching a German youth netball team snaking back and forth trying to find seats between fully-
Saturday dawned and our group met for breakfast before boarding a local bus back to the station. Here we boarded an S-
A detailed review of the Hamburg S-
Once inside ‘Wunderland’ the visitor is confronted by extraordinary sights and displays of craftsmanship and modelling techniques. Spread over three floors, the displays have such incredible detail and life-
The models, which span an area of nearly 2,300 square metres, are all interlinked by a vast railway layout running for almost 20,000 metres, with around 1,300 actual trains running. They excellently depict the numerous companies and operators of the various countries. The statistics continue to impress, with around 500,000 led lights illuminating the models and around 400,000 individual figures (all apparently different in design/costume). The whole system is overseen from a central control hub of over fifty computers, with several operators ensuring things keep ‘on track’. It is also documented that, so far, around 900,000 hours of construction have gone into the whole project, at a cost of around €30million.
The airport (a fictitious location called Knuffingen) is an absolute marvel to watch, with airplanes actually taking off through the clouds!
A scene in the 250m square Swiss section
The funfair in the Middle Germany section complete with working rides
A night time scene at Kuffinger Station in Germany
And Kuffinger Station by Day
A Lufhansa Boeing 747 taxiing towards the runway at Knuffingen airport
A 777 gets ready for take-
Knuffingen airport carpark
The models are of various European countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the Scandinavian region, plus Las Vegas and the US Mid-
Alan Spencer had purchased an HVV Hamburg Dayticket for the group (valid on all local trains, buses and river boats), so we opted to take an afternoon cruise along the impressive River Elbe. Several routes radiate from Landungsbrucken, heading in both directions. Our journey took us past many of the port areas where massive ocean-
From Hamburg, it is an 80-
In 2017, the Port of Hamburg played host to more than 12,000 vessels – nearly 500 of these had a length of over 1000 feet. The port boasts it can host 320 ocean going vessels at any time, and with a turnaround of over 9 million containers, rightly holds the claim to be Europe’s second busiest harbour. We also spotted the Rickmer Rickmers Museum ship, a former Russian Submarine (B-
To end our day, we took the S-
Our last day started, and we were heading back to the UK.
IC2313 took us from Hamburg to Cologne, with a light lunch served onboard in the BordBistro. Here, two of our group were heading for a few days in Boppard-
Whilst changing trains here, I caught a fairly unusual sight of three different ‘high-
Our return Eurostar was at 16:56, although due to a late swap of trainsets, we boarded an un-
At Lille Europe, we had an unscheduled 40minute stop after an earlier security alert had caused the station to be evacuated, with subsequent delays for boarding passengers to clear through security channels. Additional stops at both Ashford International and Ebbsfleet made our arrival into St Pancras almost 50minutes behind schedule.
All in all, a very enjoyable weekend, in excellent company.
For those that haven’t visited, I can’t convey enough how amazing this place is (for ages 3 – 93), and would recommend a visit for you and your family or friends. Following our visit, of around 4hours, the group met in the restaurant for an excellent lunch. As ever, the chat was about railways past and present.
Wunderlands Barvaria, including the Neuschwanstein Castle
Les Vegas by day and night plus
Snow in Sweden -
Italy’s stunning Amalfi coast
Minature Wonderland's Control Room
Three different ‘high-
Unrefurbished Eurostar 3224 at St Pancras International
Freight trains in America’s Mid-
Visitors to Minitur Wonderland come from all round the World
A Rocky Mountain Village