model train set on track

Now Fifteen Years, But Who’s Counting?

e*Train Issue: Oct 2017   |   Posted in:

By Carol Redman McGinnis, EditorFall 2017 

Just five years ago, we were celebrating the completion of ten years of online publication. By then, a massive amount of information had been written, edited, updated, and consulted by thousands of authors and researchers.

e*Train as we now call it, had matured as a solid part of TCA’s foundation and commitment to standards, accuracy, and service to members and others. As seen above, we were able to proclaim it as an online treasury of facts and photos.

In the last five years, it’s gotten even better! e*Train is TCA’s most heavily visited website. We have a new look, an improved Google custom search engine, and are now also classifying articles into helpful categories of Pre-war, Post-War, and Modern Eras, making it easier for members to zero in on their periods of interest.

What’s the secret of our success? It’s many things, but includes:

Content written by dedicated people, carefully reviewed and edited. It’s clear that members who take the time to prepare articles are seeking to share not only their own achievements, but their knowledge and experience. A classic example in the current edition is Donald Woodwell’s “Principles of Reliable Wiring for Model Train Layouts,” destined to be a great reference work for years to come. There are countless more.

Here, toy train people of all areas of interest can find exhaustive and accurate tabulations and discussions on many subjects, ranging from the popular to the detailed. Lionel, American Flyer, Ives, the latest MTH WIFI controls? Where else can you find a detailed list of the characteristics of 150 6464 cars or dozens and dozens of MTH subway cars?

One of the enduring values of e*Train has been that key articles have been kept up-to-date, serving as wonderful places to look up the evolution of particular subjects. New manufacturer catalogs are issued, pre-production sketches are replaced by actual photos of production cars, fine points of construction, description, and numbering evolve. Most typically, you can track these encyclopedic topics by watching for the subjects under the site’s Popular Subjects menu. On each issue’s home page, scroll down to the Updated section. Topics include mint cars, aquarium cars, windows display cars, VAT cars, Ore cars, and a variety of fascinating motorized cars.

We’ve also focused on presenting material from our wonderful National Toy Train Library, as seen in this issue’s article by Glenn Stinson’s on 1930s Lionel Promotional Sets; by articles about progress at the National Toy Train Museum, as seen in National Business Manager Tammy Hersh’s Forty Years of Service article.

We have also reached out to the broader community, reflecting TCA’s goal of spreading the word, by recognizing toy trains in supermarks, chronicling TCA’s good work to support the new life of a magnificant old steam engine, the 611, and promoting theme visits to the National Toy Train Museum.

At the core of all of this, of course, is good content, well presented. Primary credit for this goes to our dozens of authors, as well as to the foresight of TCA leadership in starting and nurturing this effort, to the good and continuing work and of previous editor Bob Mintz, early webmaster Angelo Lautazi, and current webmaster Jim Alexander.

I’m proud to have been continuing this effort as we move beyond our fifteen years, and enjoy leading this successful common effort that distinguishes TCA.

And yes, we need lots of articles. Reach out to me with your ideas, and we’ll work together to make the next fifteen years even better!