96-year-old master model railroader honored
for lifelong contributions to the industry

by WHAM |

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Rochester, N.Y. — Some big awards were presented to a local man on Sunday.

Considered an icon of his industry, 96-year-old Harold Russel, Jr. is the oldest serving master model railroader.

In fact, he was the 14th person to ever achieve the prestigious title that only about 700 people hold nationwide.

He was celebrated at his senior community in Rochester, winning two awards for his contributions to the industry, including writing and publishing hundreds of articles and drawings related to model railroads.

“I built a couple of structures from his drawings,” said President of Northeast Region National Model Railroad Association, Ed O’Rourke, “One of them helped me get my master model railroader because he designed something I needed to build. “He is one of those people you look up to and hope that someday you can maybe do half of what it is that he has done.”

“Not deserving at all, and I was surprised,” said National Model Railroad Association Award Winner, Harold Russel, Jr. “I was very surprised.”

The awards were given out at a convention in Texas this year. Russel could not make it in person. So, the National Model Railroad Association wanted to make sure he knows how much he is appreciated.

96-year-old master model railroader, Harold Russell, received two awards for his contributions to the industry. Oct. 15, 2023 (Photo by Daniel Finkelstein/WHAM)