model train set on track

Reaching Out — It Takes Effort!

e*Train Issue: Apr 2018   |   Posted in:

By Bob Lubonski and Amy Fry Spring 2018 

Editor’s note: As we’ve said before, sharing our appreciation of toy trains among ourselves is rewarding, but to project the hobby into the future, we need to reach out to people who may not be current collectors. Doing so takes initiative and hard work, but the results will be beneficial for TCA.

Here we share two stories of such outreach, one by the Atlantic Division, and one by our National Business Office. They complement other efforts we’ve recounted here, such as by the Western Division and by the Eastern Division’s WB&A Chapter. Breaking out of traditional comfort zones is key to our hobby’s sucessful future! We’ll be happy to share other such successes.

Atlantic Division’s Interactive Traveling Display
By Bob Lubonski

The Atlantic Division represented the TCA at Greenberg’s Train show at Oaks, PA in January 2018. We had on display our new layout that allows visitors to operate the accessories, including the entire Carnival and Balloon Ride.

The new layout was built over a period of time by Atlantic Division members. It includes controls based on Micro Computers for automatic operation by those people who press the many push buttons and cause the various accessories to come to life.

This layout attracted people four deep and brought major attention to the TCA, where we distributed a great many brochures and signed up new members as well as those that re-joined after having dropped out for a period of time.

One woman that made it all worth-while approached us to thank us for making her autistic son’s day while he pressed buttons and watched as accessories came to life. She couldn’t have been happier. This is the kind of thing that the TCA is all about.

National Toy Train Museum Outreach
By Amy Fry, Membership and Program Cordinator

In the spring of 2017, the National Toy Train Museum was approached by the Lancaster Library System to develop a program that we could take to local libraries and inform children in a fun way about toy trains. With the help of Museum Assistant Melody Rogers and then-Librarian Jan Athey, Membership  and Program Coordinator Amy Fry created a fun and entertaining program for kids 5 and under.

Under direction of Business Manager Tammy Hersh, the program was extended to local daycares as well. This community outreach opportunity is aimed to create traffic to the museum by providing basic train information, book readings, and a chance for kids to role-play. The programs were well-received and a lot of fun was had by everyone, and Amy got to dress up in engineer overalls and a hat!

Planning for the 2018 season, we’re enhancing our hands-on efforts, which are very popular.

In the meantime, if you know a venue in the Lancaster/York/Harrisburg PA area that would enjoy a little toy train fun, please contact Amy.

As Business Manager Tammy Hersh observes, TCA’s future rests on a wonderful combination of efforts at the Museum, reaching out from the Museum, by its leadership, and by the motivated efforts of TCA members throughout all divisions.