From the birth of the idea - Preface
Hello, dear friends of the big and small railways.
my name is Hans-Jörg Stiegler. I was born on 28.01.1944 in the northern Hessian Hofgeismar. My love of the railway comes from my past childhood and youth. After the terrible war, I grew up without a father, I spent many years with my grandmother in Kassel, near the Henschel-Werke. Again and again impressed me a mysterious metamorphosis: While on the one unshapely blanks from steel and iron have been driven in the gate of the factory, rolled out from the other gate huge, brand new, often very festively decorated locomotives. Where they probably want to go? Too, I would be happy to driven with them...
Perhaps it was these experiences, that triggered my interest and increasingly led to growth for the world of locomotives, the tracks and the signals. But those years gave me no chance to be addressed me closer to the big train. An for a model railway, there was neither time nor money. Since 1991 I have lived and worked in Thuringia. The town of Wiehe, for me a second home, was located in the beautiful valley of the Unstrut. Our region, also know as "Valley of the emperors and kings", is very rich in historical traditions of German history and offers many tourist opportunities, but it lacked what is called a tourist "highlight".
After long reflection, what you could do, I had the idea of modelrailway. I took the decision to build a model installation, which - thought of as a tourist destination first class - everything so far, something more than meets. Thus was born between spring and autumn 1997 on the outskirts of Wiehe Europe's largest model railway show. Already on 7 November 1997 it was solemnly opened. Many visitors came to us and been amazed at nearly 900 square mete model railway of the finest.
Because of my success rigth there, I venturede to the next step and began to expand the model railway Wiehe to the world's largest all-year show. Let the flair of the model railway Wiehe capture. Just take a look at what we offer. Read how it all originated. Get an impression of what I had everything planned and what the future brings.
"Free ride for the super model railway show in Wiehe!"
Until then, all the best!
Yours Hans-Jörg Stiegler
The model railway Wiehe arose from the need to intensify tourism. When I came to Wiehe, some tourism associations distressed me to enter in the hotel sector, because tourism can only grow if hotel capacities were available. So I built a country inn in Wohlmirstedt to a four-star hotel. But the tourists remained timid. The valley of the Unstrut, although scenic and rich in historical sites, lacked "Highlights" with the spezial appeal. The tourist no-man's-land between Naumburg Cathedral and Kyffhäuser needed something extraordinary. A visit to the Harzquerbahn gave me the idea to build this railway as a miniature. Since Wiehe is located in Thuringia, I came up with the idea to form, besides the Harz, the railway landscape of Thuringia. So my idea was, to present in Wiehe the largest model railway show in Europe, gradually taking shape. I also wanted to created with the construction and operation of the model railway new jobs.
My first Stepps took me to the trade show "Model & Hobby" in 1996 in Leipzig. But whenever I presented my project, it seemed to me not quite to believe. I did not discourage me, because my prospects for success appeared to me real. When someone asked me why there must ba a model railway, I replied: "Spectacular objects such as the Eiffel Tower, there are already. I want something that do not exist in these magnitudes." Some companies, that profiled, I could now convince: Roco, Tillig, Gützold, Kibri, Faller, Auhagen, later Viessmann, Brawa and LGB get in. More followed. For the construction work I have dedicated a model railway club, and for the model railway I found a sructurally usable straw storage barn. It was in a deplorable condition, the engineering effort devoured huge sume. But there were stable jobs. The construction seemed to help for the city and region.
In the summer of 1997 my idea shape: From the barn, the present halls A and B. The facade at the main entrance, I had shape the appearance of a train station. It therefore welcomes a wall painting of the locomotive 99 237 of the Harz narrow the guests. Inside were next to two model railway the restaurant and rateil space of the model railway.
On 7 November 1997 had come: Under great sympathy of the construction and model railway companies, state agencies of the land of Thuringia, the Kyffhäuserkreises, the city Wiehe and numerous business, official representatives of the sourrounding cities and communities and the media, opened economy minister Dr. Franz Schuster with the words "free ride to Wiehe!" Europe's largest model railway installation.
Already in the first days thousands model railway friends visited us; the parking spaces were in short supply. Sun confirmed what my goal was: The tourist was in motion, the quiet town Wiehe was the center of the region. At Easter 1998, we equipped with a steam train park in operation. 1999 follows the Kaiser Hall and a foyer to connecting to a new, larger exhibition halls. When my biggest investment so far has been the halls D, E and F in 2000 ready. With their size and equipment they surpass everything so far this year.