Atlantic Division History

The Monday Nighters

The origin of the Atlantic Division can be traced to a group of train collectors who began to meet at each other’s homes in the early 1960s. Meetings were held on Monday nights because one of the original members was a professional musician (who played at the old Hawaiian Cottage) and was only free on Monday nights. This group of train collectors became known as the Monday Nighters, and over the years was the source for the Atlantic Division’s Board of Directors and Officers.

The culture of train collectors was profoundly different in the 1960s. We were members of the Eastern Division. Train shows were infrequent. There were few books on train collecting and no internet through which information could be instantly accessed. The Monday night meetings served not only as social functions, where information about our hobby was shared, but also provided a launch site for discussions regarding potential new TCA chapters. As the popularity of train collecting grew and the number of train collectors in this area increased, Eastern Division was petitioned to form an accommodating chapter. In May, 1970, the Delaware Valley Chapter was born.

A short time later, the Board discussed the need for a Herald or logo that would appear on stationary, membership cards, etc., and a contest was launched for the design. Members of the chapter submitted their drawings which were displayed at a chapter meet on May 16, 1971. All the submissions were displayed, judged and a winner was selected. The winning herald included a line drawing of the Liberty Bell, a silhouette of a GG-1, the text “Delaware Valley Chapter”, “T.C.A.” and “FOUNDED 1970. This logo for the Delaware Valley Chapter first appeared in the chapter newsletter June, 1971. Later, the name was changed to the Atlantic Division and the herald modified to reflect this.

The Atlantic Division is made up of members that live in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. The counties in Pennsylvania that are within the division’s boundaries are Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. New Jersey counties include Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean and Salem. Although our division is small in geographic size (6022 sq. miles or just 0.15% of the USA), we have more than 1,000 members, or approximately 3.7% of the entire Train Collectors Association membership.  The total number of members that live within the Atlantic Division’s geographic boundaries is nearly 2,500, or 8.7% of the current TCA membership.

Members of the Atlantic Division receive:

  •   Free Admittance to One (1) of our Atlantic Division Shows per year
  •   Receive the Quarterly Division newsletter,  The Express
  •   Enjoy the Fellowship of collecting, selling, or trading toy trains

The Atlantic Division hosts five (5) train shows per year at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall, managed by Penns Landing Caterers, (see the Events section for the next show). These shows are open to both TCA members and the general public. We encourage families to join us at our shows by offering a special admission price of $5 for two adults and children under 12 years of age. We believe train collecting (and operating) can be a family activity.

We also have a traveling layout that we take to various locations in and around the Delaware Valley.  In addition to having the layout at each of our shows, in past years it has appeared at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, the Quaker City String Band’s Christmas party, the Rods ‘n Rails show in Bensalem, various churches and others locations upon request.