model train set on track

Become a Member of the Train Collectors Association

In operation since 1954, the Train Collectors Association today has thousands of members worldwide. We have created opportunities for people of all ages and experience levels with the toy train collecting hobby, and you will be delighted to find that our organization is like a big family—one wholeheartedly dedicated to collecting and operating toy, model, and scale trains and collecting items relating to trains!

Making new friends who enjoy the same hobby is highly fulfilling, but that’s not all. TCA Members have access to world-class resources not available anywhere else!

Why Join TCA?

It’s true that TCA Members receive a long list of tangible benefits that put them on the toy train collectors’ inside track, including free admission to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA, and access to special collections of material in the National Toy Train Library. But, did you know that one of the most significant values our members cite from their TCA affiliation is camaraderie with fellow toy train enthusiasts?

Don’t just take our word for it—listen to one of our most senior TCA members explain his experience of belonging to the association for 50+ years!

Who Can Join TCA?

In short, anyone can join! That is, 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 under the qualifications established by the TCA Board of Directors.

We have three membership categories to suit your needs, including Junior Memberships for younger enthusiasts. Kids under age 18 may also want to explore our Kids and Teens Clubs, which offer a no-cost way to make new friends and build skills within the toy train hobby.

Regular Memberships

This is our main member category. Dues are currently $50 a year. Applicants for membership must file a formal membership application, which can be submitted here on the website or via regular mail. Please visit our Join page for details and sign up!

Junior Memberships

This category is for young people under age 18. Dues are half the regular dues (currently $25 per year). With parental permission, Junior members may participate in TCA events and receive publications, but they are not voting members and have other restrictions.

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. This option is meant to introduce TCA and does not allow voting or other full membership privileges.  

Get detailed information and apply to join TCA today!

Heritage Membership Upgrade Program

Long-time TCA members who have reached age 60 may apply for this dues-free level of membership. With a special one-time contribution to the Heritage Fund, you will continue to enjoy full regular membership privileges without the annual dues.

Attention Kids Under 18: Check Out Our Free Clubs!

Kids and Teens up to age 18 can join our TCA Kids and TCA Teens clubs for free to get acquainted with the toy train collecting hobby! When you join, you will receive a membership certificate, member card, and more.

TCA Kids

The TCA Kids Club is a great way to learn about toy trains and how the hobby works for kids under age 13. Meet new friends while you enjoy looking at and operating toy trains—and even assembling train layouts with complicated wiring and design and computer controls!

TCA Teens

For youth over age 13, our TCA Teens Club is the “next level” 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 for those ages 13-18.

Find out more and sign up (with your parent or guardian’s permission) now!

Need More Information to Make Your Membership Decision?

Our current TCA members would be happy to talk with you! Please submit this short contact form to have someone get in touch with you to discuss membership or provide some introductory materials by mail/email. (Your contact information and email address will only be used for this purpose and not shared for any commercial purposes.)

Alternatively, you can speak with one of our friendly staff members at TCA headquarters. Simply call (717) 687-8623 ext. 101.

Did You Know?

You may hear TCA members talk about tinplate toy trains, which may be an unfamiliar term to new collectors. “Tinplate” is a term applied to toy trains originally built of thin stamped metal, but it broadly refers to plastic trains as well. Tinplate trains are any toy trains built for mass-market enjoyment rather than the precise scale that some of today’s model railroad craftsmen construct and enjoy.

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