My visit to Hamburg was primarily to see Miniatur Wunderland, which was just as amazing as it looks. Of course, there was time allowed to visit some local shops which are so conveniently located right outside the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), shown in the above photo.
One comment on the train station...there's a book shop in the arcade of shops within the station. On the second floor of this book shop was a site that confirmed to me that Germany's love of its trains is not an illusion to us outsiders. In this normal, mass-market bookstore there were at least two very large walls filled with model train and real train magazines. It was quite amazing to see more train - related books in a general bookstore than you will likely see in any major hobby shop anywhere. The scale and enthusiasm for this hobby is just amazing there! To be fair, I was also somewhat impressed on how frequently I saw train and model train related magazines in other European countries, but the quantity and scale in Germany was just incredible!
Back to the hobby shops....The two hobby shops I visited are shown in the map below, and they are both within very easy (probably less than 10 minutes to get to the furthest) walk from the train station.
Exiting the station towards the East, a short walk up Kirchenalle talks you to the first shop, Modell Bahn Kiste. A nice little shop with some N Scale, and some interesting used N Scale items on sale. They apparantely have another shop in Hamburg further to the north which I did not get too but seems to be the bigger of the two. The shop staff was very friendly, and spoke good English and is a great shop to visit!H.P.A. Schellhaß
Another five minute walk up Kirchenalle (look for the 'lollipop' semaphore type signals both shops display) is H.P.A. Schellhaß Modell & Hobby. This store seemed to have a bit more N Scale stock, and I picked up a Minitrix ICE3 while there. Again, the gentleman who was running the shop was extremely friendly and spoke good English, which of course was great considering my limited knowledge of German (and confusion after just coming from France...you know, you just get the "Merci" thing down and then you need to switch to "Danke"!). Fortunately, Europeans seem to have a sixth sense of being able to determine whether or not you are an American before you even say a word!).
Paris, you would think I would be done, right? No, after all, this is Germany, where your normal expectations about the relevance of this hobby get blown away. On the other side of the train station (exiting from the West), there's a considerable shopping area populated with larger department stores and the like. By chance, we stopped into Karstadt Sports, which seemed like a typical store for athletic or sporting accessories. And it was, except for the "Spielwaren" in the basement. Here I found a toy store in the lower floor with yet more model train accessories and items....literally a third hobby shop within easy walking distance of the station! Amazing! Can you imagine model trains being sold at this sort of store in the US? Not me! Again, more friendly staff were available to answer questions and exchange friendly discussion.