Benefits of Membership
The various Divisions and Chapters of the T.C.A. sponsor train shows where members may buy, sell, or trade trains, or just enjoy the fellowship of collecting. Over 150 of these are held each year. A schedule of these shows appear under News & Events at www.TrainCollectors.org website and is also published in the National Headquarters News. Each June, one of the regional Divisions hosts the Train Collectors Association’s National Convention, which is one of the highlights of the year and provides an opportunity for fun-filled family vacations in various parts of the United States.
The Train Collectors Quarterly
Members receive The Train Collectors Quarterly, a magazine dedicated to tinplate trains. Articles on the history of toy trains, and the firms who manufactured them make this one of the finest magazines in the collecting field. Members are urged to contribute articles for the magazine. Members may also consult over fifty years of archived copies online.
National Headquarters News
This periodical is also mailed to the members five times a year, and contains listings of the various Chapter and Division meets, names of new members, and other important information. The “Interchange Point” is part of the National Headquarters News and is the place where members list items they have for sale, trade, or want to buy. In addition, members may register for access to TCA’s Buy-Sell web site, the TCA X-Change, where they may participate in buying and selling toy trains.
This online magazine is issued four times a year, and is written and edited by TCA members. Previously published content is updated as needed as well, making this a valuable, searchable, resource.
The Association, through an independent insurance agent, has available for members’ consideration, a plan through which they may insure their collection.
By arrangement with a major national insurer, other types of insurance (Home, Auto, etc.) may be purchased at favorable rates.
National Toy Train Library
The Association is continuously updating the Library that is housed in the Museum and Headquarters Building. This Library is the most extensive resource center for researching tinplate toy train history. On file are a continuously running video. Displays are changed periodically. Members are admitted free to the museum and are encouraged to visit the museum.
A very special library, it is open to all visitors, and houses a unique collection of information on the history and characteristics of toy trains in the United States and elsewhere. We are a research, not a lending, library. As such, we safeguard a cultural and commercial heritage of toy trains, and the industry that produced them.
Administered by a professional librarian aided by dedicated volunteers, the library’s collection of over 500,000 items includes:
- 1500 research books, plus instruction books, repair guides, and parts lists
- Historical material on many of the toy train makers
- Greenberg Guides and Auction Lists (for self-determination of value, no appraisals)
- Toy train periodical collections
- 20,000 trade catalogs and advertising of manufacturers and retailers, many long gone
- Postcards ranging from the 1850s to the present
- Children’s Corner books and toys
In addition, the library houses the archives of the Train Collectors Association, with material dating to its founding in 1954. Researchers are encouraged to call ahead, and to note the open hours information at the left. Books and materials are not lent out.
The Library also maintains copies of commercial price guides for a number of popular manufacturers, but does not provide appraisals or evaluations.
The National Toy Train Museum Gift Shop is stocked with toy train and railroad related items and has many of the current books on toy trains.
National Toy Train Museum
The National Toy Train Museum, located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, houses one of the finest collections of toy trains in the world. There are five+ operating layouts, in various scales from HO to Standard Gauge, the latest of which is the LEGO layout. In addition to the layouts, there are static displays of toy trains with examples from the earliest days of toy train manufacture to the latest and greatest examples of modern day trains. Both the layouts and static displays are refreshed and changed regularly.
We are certain that your collection of friends and trains will increase bountifully through your membership in this great organization!
Qualifications for Membership
Any person who collects or operates trains, collects any items relating to trains or professes a serious interest therein may apply for membership. Applicants must file a membership application, either online or hard copy, and submit the annual dues.
Note that we have several categories of membership, including Regular, Kids Club, and Junior Member. When you click the first button below, you will see more information on each type of membership. Clicking the second button will open a new window with a printable copy of the application to join the TCA. Whichever method you select will put you on the right track to the wonderful world of the TCA!