The Scheme, The Team, The Dream



To mis-quote Nevillle Cardus, "Without McKinley, there could be no summer in this land."



McKinley is not just a large (and still growing) model railway. It has also been the realisation in miniature of one man’s dream to recreate the years of his youth when he watched the passing of trains in western England.

Those days, in the real world, have long gone. But on the McKinley Railway they live on as the sights and sounds of steam engines from the 1950s slowly fade to be replaced by British Rail’s introduction of diesel power, and the advent of high speed trains.


The McKinley Railway is really several layouts which intertwine seamlessly on different levels. Computer software controls many trains at once as they roam the mainlines, leaving the human operators to conduct the real business of any railway in its passenger stations and freight yards.

We are having a chuffing great time tackling the many technical challenges which go with a project of this size and complexity. As with the members of the McKinley team, the sum of the layout really will be greater than all of its parts.

We hope you find the story of the McKinley Railway journey an interesting one, and will come and see us again soon.


The McKinley Railway:




  • Is social. There are many personalities involved. We work to peoples’ strengths. There is great camaraderie among the group, and a lot of tea and chocolate biscuits are consumed.
  • Is digital. This railway is at the cutting edge of modelling technology.
  • Is scenic. We work very hard to recreate the world in miniature.


The Extension (started 2015):



  • Will be a multi-level construction, with multiple automated storage levels below scenicked upper sections.
  • Will be technical, even by our own standards.
  • Will work like a real railway. Without the strikes. Maybe.
  • Represents a slice of England between 1956-1975.
  • Will have typical trains for each era within this timeframe.
  • Reflects the continuity and change which took place on the real railway
  • Will have stock that is definitely not just out of the box. We work tirelessly to create realism both on and off the rails.

What᾿s New

  • Testing
    With such a huge project, naturally we had to think of ways to ensure that everything worked before being used. You can't lump together several hundred meters of wire and…
  • Layout Introduction
    Gauge OO (1:76) Size   > Original Layout 25’ x 20’ > Extension 25’ x 18’ Period British Rail 1956-1975 Prototype (loosely)   > Original Layout From London to Manchester…
  • Operations Introduction
    The McKinley Railway is primarily about how we operate trains, whether under human or computer control. From the trackplan you will see that the existing layout has three large stations…
  • The Coaches
    Some jobs on the McKinley Railway need a little extra help. That is especially true when the challenge is a more technical one, and coach lighting certainly falls into that…
  • The Brake Vans
    During an operating session, a brake van will depart one location on a train, arrive at a destination and then be sent off on another train in another direction. This…