Bruce Williams Zaccagnino started building model railroads in his basement in 1972. He expanded his basement five times to house his growing model train habit. This was getting out of hand for a hobby, so in 1990, Bruce bought 16 acres of land in Flemington NJ, built a building, and took it on as a full-time job. Northlandz is named for the Northern geography most of the scenes depict, with ‘z’ at the end for Zaccagnino…
Northlandz’ railway exhibit includes about 100 model trains travelling a landscape of 400 bridges and tunnels and eight miles of track traversing mountains, rivers, and towns with thousands of model buildings. The materials to make the exhibit include enough lumber and plaster to build about 40 large houses.
* Update: In recent years, the title of “world’s largest” has since been challenged by the continued expansion of Germany’s Miniatur Wunderland. Also amazing.