model train set on track

Benefits of Membership

TCA Members receive a long list of tangible benefits that put them on the toy train collectors’ inside track! These include free admission to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA, multiple exclusive publications, as well as access to special collections of material in the National Toy Train Library. Explore this page to discover even more great perks and benefits our TCA members enjoy.

Ready to get involved and join our excellent organization with thousands of other toy train enthusiasts around the world?

Camaraderie: The Biggest TCA Member Benefit

Did you know that one of the most significant values our members cite from their TCA affiliation is the camaraderie with fellow toy train enthusiasts? This is developed through in-person gatherings and conventions and over the miles through many opportunities to buy, sell, and trade trains with one another.

But 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!

Train Meets

The various Divisions and Chapters of TCA sponsor train meets where members may buy, sell, or trade trains or just enjoy the fellowship of collecting and operating toy trains. In a typical year, over 150 of these meets are scheduled. You’ll find more information on where and when these meets are held in the National Headquarters News or right here on the website!

TCA’s National Headquarters News

The National Headquarters News (Newsletter) is filled with information on TCA-related Events, ads from member-owned-and-operated businesses, and timely updates about everything going on within TCA. It features an extensive “Interchange” section, where members buy, sell, and trade trains and train-related items with other members.

The Newsletter is a vital resource for TCA members, and is much more substantial than your average “newsletter”—averaging 75 pages per issue!

TCA e*Train Online Magazine

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

Free Admission to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA

A major perk of TCA Membership is free admission to the National Toy Train Museum. Just present your membership card when you arrive. TCA Kids and Teens Club members are also admitted free. Discover why planning a visit to the NTTM is an excellent idea for your next vacation!

The Train Collectors Quarterly Magazine

Members receive The Train Collectors Quarterly, a magazine dedicated to tinplate trains. Articles focus on topics like the history of toy trains, the firms who manufactured them, and member experiences with collecting. It’s unquestionably one of the finest magazines in the toy train collecting field!

Members are urged to contribute articles for the magazine. Members may also log in to consult over fifty years of archived copies online and use a special search engine to seek information.

Special Discounts and Research Access at the National Toy Train Library

Our Library houses a unique collection of information on the history and characteristics of toy trains in the United States and elsewhere. We are a research library and do not lend materials. This means we safeguard a cultural and commercial heritage of toy trains and the significant industry that produced them.

While the National Toy Train Library is open to all visitors, TCA members receive special access to even more research materials, as well as discounts on certain research services.

TCA Open House Events

Our twice-yearly Open House days (April and October) offer opportunities to mingle with toy train manufacturers and discover the latest trends. TCA members often receive preferred access to events taking place during Open Houses and can also volunteer to help out behind the scenes.

Special Opportunities at Our Annual Conventions

Each June, one of the Divisions hosts the Train Collectors Association’s National Convention. This event is one of the year’s highlights for toy train enthusiasts and provides an opportunity for fun-filled family vacations in various parts of the United States.

Full Access to Grading Standards for Toy Trains

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.

Unique Toy Train Car Purchasing Opportunities

Each year, TCA offers its members the chance to order specially designed engines or cars to support the national convention and commemorate other events. 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! The Library’s book sale is mainly online, and interested members can shop from anywhere.

Special Rates on Collection Insurance Coverage

Through an independent insurance agent, TCA is able to offer an insurance plan through which members may pay special rates to protect their private collections from loss. Please log in to the members-only section of the website or call TCA headquarters at (717) 687-8976 for more details.

Already a TCA Member and Looking for Member Services Information?

Our members-only online portal is your secure destination to pay dues, update your member information, and get access to details about all of your TCA membership benefits. (Registration required.)