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From the NCT Blue Comet Awards application: “The National Capital Trackers are an O gauge modular railroad club located in the Washington DC metro area, encompassing Northern Virginia, Maryland (including the Eastern Shore) and Washington DC. Founded in 1990, today the club supports 22–26 shows annually and has done so consistently over the last decade. As of 2012, the NCT has grown to 115 members, consisting of people with modules and people without modules (Partners and Passengers).

“Our modules are built using the Tin Plate Trackers standards with innovation and imagination as the only limits to module design. Depending on the venue, our layouts have ranged from 12’ x 16’ to 120’ x 30’.

“In 2011, the club designed and built a pre-wired cabinet with all digital technologies supported: DCS, TMCC, Legacy, plus Conventional. Digital operations allow us to venture outside the confines of our modular layouts and share the train operating experience with spectators, especially the young at heart.

“Our module inspection program helps us keep everyone’s modules and the club’s assets in good operating condition. This effort is extremely important due to the extreme wear and tear associated with about two-dozen shows annually. Between the module inspections and our digital operations, we have achieved a very stable environment that typically runs with very few problems.

“We believe the club’s phenomenal growth is proof of our success. Over the past two years, we have increased our membership by close to 25%. What is even more amazing is whom we have attracted. Father/son, mother/son, and entire families are the rule and not the exception.

“Our layouts provide a reliable platform that allows our members to feel comfortable displaying and operating their collections of toy trains, both old and new. Every member gets an equal opportunity. It is not uncommon to see all of our trains being operated by junior members at any given time.

“Several local Maryland and Virginia newspapers have published articles and photos of our efforts. We have also graced The Washington Post (local pages) with our accomplishments and been featured on local TV stations and in O Gauge Railroading magazine.

“We believe a problem-free environment encourages members to feel comfortable sharing their special collections with other members and audiences alike. We make a conscious effort to provide exciting layouts for our club members to operate their collections. If our members are enjoying themselves, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Operating trains is fun — that’s our secret ingredient. We don’t plan smiling faces, they just happen on both sides of our modules. It’s what makes us successful.”

For more details on the club, check out their website at www.nationalcapitaltrackers.com where you can see more photos and find their upcoming show schedule.