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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. Marty, however, was not one to do things halfway. To help the club get back on its feet, he purchased a large, half-built layout from a bankrupt mansion owner and hired a crane to lift it into the top floor of his factory. But even the large 20’ x 35’ layout looked tiny in the huge factory space, so over the following decade, Marty and Bernie financed the building of one of the nation’s largest O gauge model railroads — what became the 185’ x 40’ NJ Hi-Railers, winner of the very first Blue Comet Award. Along the way, they always helped the club members so things in a big way. When the custom bridge builder they had used for some of their most dramatic structures went out of business, Marty and Bernie bought a laser cutter so members could make their own. And their hospitality was legendary, especially Trainstock, the feast for the faithful the club continues to host each January. Sadly, Marty Horning passed away from pancreatic cancer this past February. In honor of his commitment to our hobby and the joy he took in helping others build a larger-than-life model railroad and share it with so many of us, we have presented an Honorary Blue Comet Award to Marty’s family. Back to Blue Comet Award Winners