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April 24, 2013 - Four years ago, we started the Blue Comet Award to be “given annually to the person or organization who does the most to promote the O gauge hobby to the general public.” Like many in O gauge, we were concerned that perhaps interest in our scale had peaked and we were not attracting enough new, younger participants to keep our scale alive and vibrant — and we started the Blue Comet Awards to help reverse that trend.

Now, in our fourth year of running this competition, we’re happy to report an abundance of riches — so many groups doing a great job of promoting the hobby that we’ve decided to honor one winner and two runners-up. The common thread that runs through virtually all these entries is a commitment to “takin’ it to the people” — moving out of our comfort zone of train shows and taking our hobby to venues where it’s less often seen, in an effort to share our excitement about model railroading and pass it on.

Click on each of the honorees below to learn their story and find out why we found them inspiring and worthy of recognition.
2013 Blue Comet Award Winners
Somerset County (NJ) 4-H Trainmasters, Somerset County, NJ area: In 2012, the Trainmasters’ 13th year of operation, their 30’ x 56’ modular layout was displayed to nearly 70,000 people at the Somerset County 4-H Fair in Bridgewater, NJ and other train shows. Thirty-four Trainmasters from ages 10-18 participated in the program; the club has a waiting list for the 5-6 new members it is able to accept each year. Read More
2013 Blue Comet Award Honorable Mentions

River City 3-Railers, Midlothian, VA: The 12 members of the River City 3 Railers reached over 46,000 people in the Richmond, VA area last year, in 37 days of public displays at Richmond’s children’s and science museums, county and village fairs, and a storefront display during the holiday season. Their modular layout includes a carnival with operating roller coaster and a 6’ bridge inspired by the B&O’s Port Royal Viaduct. Read More

Lawrence Goodridge’s Tri-State Coal Mountain Traveling Railroad, Lakeside Park, KY: Lawrence Goodridge decided that “after 35 years of model railroading on permanent layouts, I felt the need to share the O gauge experience.” He built a portable 4’ x 16’ layout that he could transport and set up by himself, and became a one-man band promoting O gauge at train shows and retirement homes in Ohio and Kentucky. Read More
2013 Honorary Blue Comet Award

Marty Horning: For many of us, our interest in model railroading was sparked by a parent or other adult who loved trains. For Marty Horning, it was the other way around. From early childhood, his son Mat was wild about trains — and if Mat liked something, that was good enough for Marty. At the age of 9, Mat was a member of the Northwest Jersey Hi-Railers when the club lost its layout space. Unbeknownst to his dad, Mat offered the club space in the factory building that his dad and his partner Bernie Callen, Mat’s uncle, had just bought for their manufacturing business. When Marty and Bernie found out, they honored the commitment. Read More

We hope their efforts will inspire you to share your own excitement about O gauge model railroading and to compete for the next Blue Comet Award. Rules are posted online at Blue Comet Award Rules.

To review last year's winners, click HERE.