What Are The 5 Most Expensive Model Train Setups In The World
There seems to be a deeply ingrained stereotype at work: models trains are for retired people and they don’t cost much because retired people couldn’t afford them if they did. In fact, both of these are nothing more than misconceptions. Although model railways aren’t the most expensive hobby out there, they can run up quite a tab, not to mention that some are really, really costly. This post will tell you all about them.
Honorable Mention: Roadside America, Pennsylvania
This historic testament to a man’s passion for model trains is not among the most expensive setups in the world, but it is truly awe-inspiring. First launched by Laurence Gieringer back in 1935, it kept growing and expanding until it moved to PA (from Germany). At present, it has an area of 8,000 square feet with a working waterfall, 18 different trains, hundreds of small buildings, and even The Statue of Liberty.
Now, the countdown begins: from 5 to 1!
5. Brass Budder Train: $150,000
This is a brass train that was first shown in the US back in 2010. You can see it below. It is mistakenly presented as pure gold, which isn’t the case because it would cost much more if it were. Still, it costs a pretty penny – and it’s beautiful.
4. Mayfair Model Railway: $1.21 million
This is a genuine model train setup by music mogul Pete Waterman, who is selling it for £1 million in Mayfair (approx. 1.211995 million U.S. dollars). What is more, this is just for a tenth of the entire collection.
Image source: https://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/transport-and-industry/art520913-pete-waterman-to-put-one-million-model-railway-collection-on-sale-in-mayfair
“These full-size engines won’t be back in steam for ten years,” says Waterman in an interview for Culture 24, a UK news site. “I’m 68 now and this is probably the last chance I will have to restore the engines held by the trust. So I’m making sure there is enough money in ten years’ time to continue the job.” He says he’ll never sell the rest of the collection, which he considers to be the finest of models ever made.
3. Northlandz, NJ: Cost “several million dollars” Just to Open
Image source: https://nypost.com/2017/09/22/creator-of-miles-long-model-railroad-has-never-actually-been-on-a-train-before/
This setup, located in the town of Flemington in the Garden State, features not only trains, but around 50,000 trees, more than 3,000 miniature buildings in towns and villages, and 40-foot bridges across giant canyons. It was designed and made almost entirely by hand by one Bruce Zaccagnino and is the biggest setup in the US. The exact amount it took to build is not known, but it cost “several million” just to open the exhibit according to its creator.
It has been on display for over two decades albeit not being the biggest setup in the world anymore (that would be our no. 1, also the most expensive).
2. Model Train Setup at 18055 SW Seiffert Road, Oregon: $3.5 million
Then there’s this model train setup in the state of Oregon, which is currently selling for the above amount. Top dollar, no? The charming garden railroad runs around a 19.67 acre estate, crossing bridges and passing through tunnels. It includes a miniature rail yard for servicing, a station, and a beautiful house with a covered deck, four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a big workout area.
Image source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545351/See-astounding-3-5-million-home-scale-model-railway-ride-bridges-tunnels-round-19-acre-estate.html
The scaled-down, fully functional track is perfect for entertaining young and old alike.
1. Miniature Wonderland, Germany: $12.12 million
This is the approximate value of Miniature Wonderland (in German Miniatur Wunderland), the most expensive and biggest model railway setup in the world. Based in Hamburg, the layout features seven areas, among which recreations of the city, the Alps, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and even America. It also boasts almost 1000 trains and 14,450 wagons running over 8.08 miles of track.