The McKinley Railway is an extensive, OO scale British model based on different parts of England in the 1960s and early 1970s. It allows automated mainline running by computer, with simultaneous manual control of local areas of the layout by up to seven operators.


What we set out to achieve

It was originally envisaged in 2000 that the layout would be run completely through a computer and Digital Command Control (DCC), with the exception of certain areas that would always be controlled manually (using DCC) with just one or two people. That meant it would always be fun to operate!

What computer control has created for us is a truly realistic operational experience in which manual operating of station areas, goods yards and sheds can still go on (with all its associated banter between operators!) and yet mainline trains, under the control of the computer (Dispatcher) can still run unattended. With the introduction of lights and digitally-controlled sound this creates the atmosphere of a busy station or shunting yard.

The computer software understands the difference between an express passenger and a slow freight train, and runs the trains under its charge at prototypical speeds, obeying signals, speed restrictions and remembering to stop at stations when appropriate.

The layout can support about eight automatic train movements with simultaneous manual shunting by up to seven human operators.