PREVIEW: The 2023 Great Electric Train Show

On October 14/15, the doors will open to the 2023 Great Electric Train Show at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. With so much packed into the 10th anniversary show, MIKE WILD explores the full line-up.

The 2023 Great Electric Train Show is just a few weeks away and amazingly this year marks ten years since we opened the doors to the first event in 2013. How time flies - and we couldn’t have predicted then that what we have lined up a decade later will make this our biggest, most challenging and exciting Great Electric Train Show yet.

For the past two years we have been working with Pete Waterman and the Railnuts team to give the Making Tracks model railways from Chester Cathedral one last chance to be seen at the Great Electric Train Show. This year the team is going to the next level: all three layouts from 2021-2023 are being combined together for the October 14/15 event to put together one of the largest ever portable ‘OO’ gauge layouts.

Above: Pete Waterman and the Railnuts will be back at the Great Electric Train Show for the third year running, but this time all three layouts will be combined to create a single 152ft long ‘OO’ gauge model of the West Coast Main Line. Milton Keynes Central station will be at its heart. Mike Wild.

Making Tracks for the Great Electric Train Show will measure 152ft x 14ft as a single layout with a scale model of Milton Keynes Central station as its centrepiece. This giant layout will cover Watford Tunnel, Northchurch Tunnel, Tring Cutting, Milton Keynes Central and Hillmorton Junction on the approach to Rugby with a four-track main line running the length of the scene. Scale length trains modelling West Coast Main Line formations from the privatisation era will be the main theme of the layout, recreating what many visitors could have seen on their journey to Milton Keynes by rail.

The joining of the three layouts is a huge undertaking, and we can’t wait to see the whole layout in action when all three are combined. The Railnuts group are working on upgrades for Making Tracks 1 and 2 to bring the scenery up to the same standard as Making Tracks 3 while also changing the signalling system and upgrading the electrics to match the latest arrangement.

Above: Steam enthusiasts will not want to miss out on Graham Nicholas’ stunning Hills of the North – Spirit of Shap in 4mm scale. A Stanier ‘Black Five’ leads a milk train down the bank. Graham Nicholas.


Making Tracks is just one of a stellar line-up for outstanding model railway layouts booked to take part in the 2023 Great Electric Train Show. Headline acts include the East of Scotland 4mm Group’s wonderful Burntisland 1883 in ‘P4’ modelling the pre-grouping railway scene in Scotland (HM190), Hills of the North – the Spirit of Shap in ‘OO’ gauge by Graham Nicholas, Steve Wright’s amazing ‘N’ gauge layout James Street and a 20th anniversary display from the OO Live Steam Club including the opportunity to take the controls of one of the Hornby live steam locomotives.

Above: Malcolm Bentley’s recreation of Ranelagh Bridge stabling point on the approach to Paddington is sure to stir the memories with its extensive fleet of diesel-hydraulics. Mike Wild.

Extending the listing further, we have the NOEL Group’s ‘N’ gauge layout Scarlington (HM192) and ‘OO’ gauge Scottish terminus Kinlochewe, Martin Stewart’s impressive and compact Tulloch Bridge in ‘OO’, Malcolm Bentley’s Ranelagh Bridge – full feature coming next issue, Ian Woodward’s Wardwood (HM189), Greg Marshall’s Southern Region modern era layout Gordon’s Lane (HM181) as well as a selection of popular layouts from recent issues including John Gay’s Byway MPD (pages 66-71), Ray Taylor and Anna Bass’ White Meadow Quarry (pages 112-119) and Paul Warden's St Johns (HM195).

On the Hornby Magazine stand we will be showcasing our recent diesel depot layout Natford TMD in ‘OO’ gauge as well as debuting a brand-new ‘TT:120’ scale layout which is under construction in the Hornby Magazine workshop right now.

Above: St Johns is Paul Warden’s scenic Great Western branch line terminus with a seaside theme, as featured in HM195. Jonathan Newton.

The full list of attending layouts is in Table 1 and we will also have demonstrations from the Wirral Finescale Railway Modellers, layout design specialist Paul Lunn, our Making a Scene scenic specialist Dan Evason and, on Saturday only, Malcolm Briggs on model building construction following on from his series in Hornby Magazine this year.

All three Making Tracks layouts from 2021-2023 are being combined together for the October 14/15 event to put together one of the largest ever portable ‘OO’ gauge layouts



The trade stand list for the 2023 event stands at more than 50 with sponsorship from Accurascale and West Hill Wagon Works. The extensive list includes rolling stock manufacturer stands from Hornby, Accurascale, Cavalex Models, Ellis Clark Trains, and Revolution Trains as well as stands from TMC, West Hill Wagon Works, DCC Train Automation, DCC Concepts, Digitrains, War World Scenics, C&L Finescale, Kytes Lights, Layouts 4U, Kernow Model Rail Centre, KMS Railtech, DC Kits and many more.

Above: Scarlington by the NOEL Group is a busy ‘N’ gauge main line scene set in the 1980s and 1990s. It featured in HM192. Jonathan Newton.

No matter what you are looking for, the Great Electric Train Show caters for all model railway products from locomotives and rolling stock right down to accessories, details, digital decoders, tools and glues.

The Hornby Magazine and Key Model World stand will also be showcasing new releases in our range of exclusive laser-cut building kits as well as the latest pre-production samples of limited edition locomotives and the opportunity to buy the latest arrivals from the Key Model World Shop in person.

For the full list of trade stands, see Table 2.


Advance tickets for the 2023 show will be on sale until 5.00pm on Monday October 9 through The advance tickets offer early entry to the show from 9.30am each day as well as a saving of £2 over on the day ticket prices.

This year, Saturday sees the MK Dons football stadium in full use for a football match which means that parking for the Saturday will be at the Milton Keynes Bowl. This is located five minutes’ drive from the venue and we will be providing a free shuttle bus service throughout the Saturday to transport visitors to the show on arrival. The Bowl is open for parking from 8.00am on Saturday October 14 and closes at 6.30pm.

Above: Rosebury Goods by Neil Woodbine is one of a number of compact layouts attending the show which prove that even with limited space a realistic and interesting layout can be built. Trevor Jones.

Because of the football match, we will also be honouring Saturday advance tickets on Sunday October 15 when on-site parking will be available as usual around the venue. There have been changes to the parking arrangements since last year, but free parking is available to Great Electric Train Show visitors by entering your vehicle registration number into the tablets inside the venue before departure. Our friendly team will be on hand to assist visitors on both days with parking.

Doors are open to the show from 10.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday October 14 and 10.00am-4.00pm on Sunday October 15, with entry from 9.30am for advance ticket holders.

Full event information including the free shuttle bus timetable from Milton Keynes Central station for visitors arriving by rail is available in the dedicated Great Electric Train Show pages together with more layout information.

The 10th anniversary of the Great Electric Train Show is an event not to be missed and all of the Hornby Magazine and Key Model World team are looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming you to the show. See you there!



When: October 14/15 2023

Where: Marshall Arena, Stadium Way, Milton Keynes MK1 1ST

Times: Saturday 10.00am-5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am-4.00pm (advance ticket holders enter from 9.30am)


Contact: 01780 480404

Tickets: Adult advance £15, child advance £8 (Saturday only), adult subscriber £12, VIP £45. Adult on the day £17, child on the day £9 (Saturday only). Up to two children under 16 admitted free with each paying adult on Sunday only.


•Milton Keynes is the central point between London and Birmingham located just off the M1 via Junction 13 from the south (A5) and Junction 14 (A421) from the north and east. It is connected to the two cities by rail via the West Coast Main Line.

Once you get to Milton Keynes, the Marshall Arena and the Great Electric Train Show is a 10-minute drive from Junction 14 of the M1 and seven minutes from Junction 13, or you can follow the A5 to the venue. The Marshall Arena is built onto Stadium MK, so if you see signs for the Stadium, you are heading the right way.


•Parking for Saturday October 14 is at the Milton Keynes Bowl which is located five minutes drive from the venue. This is free to park at for the 2023 show and is open and manned by Marshall Arena and Key Publishing staff from 8.00am-6.30pm. A free shuttle bus will operate at regular intervals to transport visitors to the Marshall Arena as the parking at the venue is reserved for the football match taking place in the Stadium on Saturday October 14. The postcode for the Milton Keynes Bowl parking is MK5 8AA.


•Parking for Sunday October 15 is at the Marshall Arena in the venue car park. The car park is located around the arena hall and is now managed for paid parking. Great Electric Train Show visitors can still have free parking on the event day by entering their vehicle registration number into the tablets at the venue. This can be done at any time prior to departure, but must be done before leaving the venue as ANPR cameras now monitor traffic in and out of the Marshall Arena car park.


•If you’re travelling by train to Milton Keynes Central railway station, a free bus service will be operating every 30 minutes throughout each day to the Marshall Arena for the Great Electric Train Show. It will depart from the bus stands immediately outside Milton Keynes Central railway station (see website for timetable and confirmation of the stand number).


Burntisland 1883, ‘P4’ gauge, Scottish Region, 1880s

Byway MPD, ‘OO’ gauge, Midland Region, 1950s

Dublingham, ‘OO’ gauge, Midland Region, 1960s

Five Elms MPD, ‘OO’ gauge, Southern Region, 1960s

Fordon Hill Railway, ‘N’ gauge, Midland Region, 1980s

Gordon’s Lane, ‘OO’ gauge, Southern Region, 2010-2023

Hills of the North - Spirit of Shap, ‘OO’ gauge, Midland Region, 1960s

James Street, ‘N’ gauge, Midland Region, 1960s

Kinlochewe, ‘OO’ gauge, Scottish Region, 1970s

Lemanis Light Railway, ‘OO9’ gauge, preservation era

Live Steam Roadshow, ‘OO’ gauge, live steam

Lockdown Sidings, ‘OO’ gauge, Military depot, 1950s

Making Tracks 1-3, ‘OO’ gauge, West Coast Main Line, 2000-2023

Natford TMD, ‘OO’ gauge, Scottish Region, 1980s

Narrow Gauge, ‘OO9’ gauge, Welsh Highland Railway, 1950s

New Dalby, ‘N’ gauge, Midlands, 2010-2020

Polcombe Regis, ‘N’ gauge, Southern Region, 1960s

Ranelagh Bridge, ‘OO’ gauge, Western Region, 1970s

Rosebury Goods, ‘OO’ gauge, Midlands, 1980s

Scarlington, ‘N’ gauge, North West, 1980s-1990s

Staple and Ash, ‘OO’ gauge, Southern Region, 1960s

St Johns, ‘OO’ gauge, Western Region, 1930s

St Paddy, ‘OO’ gauge, Western Region, 1990s

Tamcester, ‘N’ gauge, Midland Region, 1980s-1990s

TT:120 by Hornby Magazine, ‘TT:120’, Eastern Region, 1960s

Thorne Yard, ‘OO’ gauge, Midland Region, 1980s

Tulloch Bridge, ‘OO’ gauge, Scottish Region, 2000s

Wardwood, ‘OO’ gauge, North Eastern Regions, 1970s

White Meadow Quarry, ‘N’ gauge, Southern Region, 1960s


AGR Model Railway Store

ABC Brushes (Pro arte)

Accurascale – 2023 event sponsor

Aspire Gifts and Models

Cavalex Models

Cheltenham Model Centre

C&L Finescale

DCC Concepts

DCC Train Automation

DC Kits, Legomanbiffo sound, Realtrack Models and C=Rail Intermodal


Don Bishop Photography

Double O Gauge Association

Elaine’s Trains

EKM Exhibitions

Ellis Clark Trains



H&A Models


Hobbytools 4U

Hornby Hobbies Ltd

Hornby Magazine/Key Model World

Isinglass Models

James Green Artish

JS Models

Kernow Model Rail Centre

KMS Railtec

KR Models

Kytes Lights

Latem Design

Layouts 4U

L-Cut Creative

Locomotion Models

TTC Diecast

Midland Railway Society

On the Rails Prints

Primo Models

Rapido Trains UK

Railway Philatelic Group

Revolution Trains

Ron Conner Model Rail Signs

Saddle Tank Books

Severn Models

Shedring Hobbies

Ten Commandments



Transport Treasury Publishing

Tony’s Trains

War World Scenics

The Wagon Yard

West Hill Wagon Works – 2023 event sponsor

WM Collectables


Great Electric Train Show

Marshall Arena, Stadium MK

Avanti West Coast

London Northwestern Railway

Great Electric Train Show tickets

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