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Join the TCA Family

TCA has been in operation since 1954, with thousands of members worldwide. Opportunities to participate fall into three major categories. Select one for more information:


Regular Memberships     Trial Memberships     Junior Memberships 
Kids Club   Teens Club    Heritage Membership Upgrade      


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Regular Memberships 


This is our main member category.

Any person collecting or operating toy, model, and scale trains or collecting items relating to trains or professing a serious interest therein is eligible to apply for membership in accordance with the qualifications established from time to time by the Board of Directors.

Applicants for membership must file a formal membership application.


How the Application Process Works:

Dues are currently $50 a year.

The applicant’s name, address, and TCA number will be published to the entire membership in the first National Headquarters News published after the member’s application.

In the event that three members file written complaints against the first-year member, full membership is withheld until the National Membership Committee has considered the matter.


TCA Member Cards and Numbers 

Membership cards are sent by US mail following processing of applications. Member numbers are assigned by the National Business Office, and consist of a preface indicating the join year and a sequence number. 

NOTICE. Each applicant must agree to observe the following TCA rules, which represent an integral part  of every member's commitment to its established standards of conduct. In submitting an application, you will be required to agree as follows: 

I hereby subscribe to the purposes, policies and duties of its members as described in the bylaws of the Train Collectors Association™ (TCA). I also understand and agree to the admission procedures. I agree to comply with all of the rules and regulations of the TCA and its Divisions and Chapters in effect from time to time, specifically including all the rules and regulations of all TCA committees and any actions and rulings of all TCA Committees. I also agree that all items sold by me to any TCA Member or at any TCA-sponsored meet shall be sold on the basis that I represent that all such items are authentic and in the manufacturer's original condition unless I have caused any such item to be appropriately marked as a restoration or reproduction.

Click here to join as a regular member

You may also file your application and payment by US Mail, but this is not recommended and will delay processing. See paper application form here.

"Tinplate" is a term applied to toy trains originally built of thin stamped metal, but more broadly it includes plastic trains as well, their over-riding characteristic being that they were built for mass-market enjoyment rather than the precise scale that some of today's model railroad craftsmen build and enjoy.


Heritage Member Category

This is a new category with full regular membership privileges, available only to certain long-time members who meet set criteria and make a specified donation to TCA's Heritage Fund.

For information, please go here.

Trial Memberships

A one-time six month Trial Membership for $20 includes all TCA publications, the right to attend a TCA Convention, Division or Chapter Meets and functions. Trial Memberships shall not have the right to hold TCA office, vote, have tables or engage in the selling of Toy Trains or related items, during TCA National, Division, or Chapter Meets, or in the National Headquarters News. In applying, you must agree to observe the standard TCA rules as described in red above.

After the completion of the Trial Membership period, that person is eligible to apply for a Regular Membership in accordance with qualifications established from time to time by the Board of Directors. Trial memberships may not be renewed nor repeated.

To apply for a Trial Membership right now, please go here. If you prefer to apply by US mail, complete and mail in this application form or contact TCA Membership Coordinator Maria Penry at 717 687-8623 or for more information. Following processing, which may take several days, you will be mailed a membership card. 


Junior Member

This new category is now available. This category is for persons under age 18. Dues are half the regular dues (thus $25 per year currently). Junior members may participate in TCA events and receive publications, but may not vote, hold office, or participate in TCA-sponsored sales or purchasing programs such as sales tables or listing items for sale in the Interchange or the Buysell site.

Before your application can be activated, you must submit the written approval of your parent or guardian to join. You may do this by printing out this form and mailing it to Membership, Train Collectors Association, PO Box 248, Strasburg, PA 17579. You may also email a signed PDF of the form to or FAX it to 717-687-0742. You may not hear from us until this form is received!

Junior members must become Regular members at age eighteen, or be dropped from membership. Junior members who become Regular Members upon reaching their 18th birthday will pay annual dues of 50% of the Regular Member rate, which will remain in effect until the year the member attains his/her 24th birthday.

Click here to join as a Junior Member

Kids Club (under age 13)

The TCA Kids Club is a great way to learn about toy trains and how the hobby works. Membership in the Club is not a regular TCA membership, but rather an introductory status which is free to all children up to age 13 approved by a parent or guardian.

At age 13, Kids Club members are converted to TCA Teens membership.

For more information about the Club, visit our special Kids Club section.

--> To apply to join the Kids Club use our secure form here. <--

TCA Teens Club (ages 13 - 18)

The TCA Teens Club is a great way to learn about toy trains and how the hobby works. Membership in the Club is not a regular TCA membership, but rather an introductory status which is free to all children up to age 18.

At age 18, Kids Club members can convert their membership into a full TCA membership, paying only half the regular member TCA dues until age 24.

For more information about the Club, visit our special Teens Club section.

-->To apply to join the Teens Club use our secure form here. <--

Train Collectors Association Mission Statement:
"To develop an appreciation of and to preserve an important segment of history - Tinplate Toy Trains - through research, education, community outreach, fellowship, establishment of collecting standards, and to promote the growth and enjoyment of collecting and operating toy, model and scale trains."

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