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Benefits of TCA Membership

Benefits in the Association are many and diverse. Highlights include:

Train Meets

Convention.The various Divisions and Chapters of the T.C.A. sponsor train meets where members may buy, sell, or trade trains, or just enjoy the fellowship of collecting and operating toy trains. In fact, members cite camaraderie as one of membership's greatest values! Over 150 of these are held each year. A schedule of these meets appears regularly here, and in the National Headquarters News.

TTCQ.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, coupled with member experiences, 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, and use a special search engine to seek out information. A free sample copy of this is available here.

National Headquarters News

This periodical is mailed to the members five times a year, and contains updated information for members, 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 are provided access to TCA's Buy-Sell web site, where they may participate in buying and selling toy trains. A partial copy of a typical News is available here.

TCA e*Train

This online magazine is issued four times a year, with all previous articles kept online for reference, and is written and edited by TCA members. It has a wide range of authoritative articles about all sorts of toy train topics, written by members and professionally edited. Large pictures! Previously published content is updated as needed as well, making this a valuable, searchable, resource.

National Toy Train Museum

The National Toy Train Museum (seen at top of page), located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, houses one of the finest collections of toy trains in the world. There are large operating layouts and great organization! Items range from historic trains to the very latest computer-controlled systems, with many special exhibits changed regularly. A museum WIFI system allows visitors to use software on their phones to control certain layouts. Members have free access during open periods.

Library door.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, with books, publications, sample material, TCA archives, audios and more. The Library is professionally staffed, and stands ready to assist members in their research into the wonderful details of the toy train hobby. An online library catalog is also available here. This is a non-lending reference library.

The Library also maintains copies of commercial price guides for a number of popular manufacturers, but does not provide appraisals or evaluations.

TCA Open House and Videos

Twice a year, TCA offers an open house for members at its national headquarters in Strasburg, PA. Special exhibits are on hand, and major toy train manufacturers make presentations on the latest product developments. Videos of these presentations, along with other informative videos, are available for viewing.

National Convention

Each June one of the 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. A special Convention Website provides details each year.

Standards

TCA is known for having created clear standards for grading toy trains, which facilitates fair transactions when buying and selling them. TCA has a special Standards Committee that monitors any alleged violations and instructs members on the proper understanding of these standards.

Special Car Purchasing Opportunities

Each year, TCA offers its members the chance to order specially designed engines or cars in support of the national convention. It also offers other limited production cars just for members.

Access to Deaccessioned and Duplicate Items

From time to time, members may participate in sales of unneeded toy train items and duplicate books from our collections. Some real bargains come up!

Collection Insurance

The Association, through an independent insurance agent, has available for members' consideration a plan through which they may insure their collection.

Other Insurance

By arrangement with a major national insurer, other types of insurance may be purchased at favorable rates.

Gift Shop

The National Toy Train Museum Gift Shop is stocked with toy train and railroad related items and has most of the current books on toy trains.

 

We are certain that your collection of friends and trains will increase bountifully through your membership in this great organization! 

Note that we have several categories of membership, including Regular, Kids Club, and Junior Member. When you click on the link below, you will see more information on each:

Ready? Click Here to Join!

(Qualifications, procedure, online application)

(If you've been recruited by a TCA member, obtain the form from the recruiting member.)

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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