model train set on track

The Times and Travels of Toy Trains

e*Train Issue: Jun 2016   |   Posted in:

By Carol Redman McGinnis  TCA #95-41066                             Summer 2016

The beginning of this project was simple.  A timeline to share what makes a person have such an impact on us, on you and me.  I tried to capture what it was that Lou Redman brought to the table.  Is he a hero, is he larger than life, is he a puzzle that you and I have to try and figure out? 

So, the chart began.  Details about the life he lived and the people who he knew and met.  The key components of the life of Lou Redman were put down onto paper.  The years and the events that made this man the man he was to become.  The birth, the high school graduation, the marriage, the children, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren.  Each of these events built his aura.  Even the marriage of his parents, who caught a train to West Virginia, were markers in his life. 

The events that form each of us also formed him, yet he was different.  He was strong, he worked toward nonconformity, he worked to keep the Train Collectors Association an impact player in the field of collecting and operating toy trains.  He did not mince words and would speak his mind.  He was not always right, but he was willing to make things work right.  He thought “outside the box” before we knew there was a box!

In the course of the development of this book I received a comical email that had a listing of cartoon characters and how old they would be in 2016.  Each character was sketched with wrinkles, gray hair, and a crooked back.  These just had to be added.  A search for inventions made sense, and so those were also added.  Magazines had such an impact on the growth of our hobby, so those were added. And so the project grew and grew.

Fort Pitt Division, host of the 2017 National TCA Convention, was looking for a timeline of manufacturers, so along came the toy train manufacturers.  A discussion at a meeting of the National Toy Train Library Committee about their quest led me to include these.  These folks were intertwined more than expected, and that’s where the adventure began.  Wanting to be inclusive became a challenge, and it was worth it. 

So the question becomes, what happens now.  Well, that is up to you.  Add yourself to the timeline.  How do you fit in, how do you see yourself in the timeline, and what can you learn about the manufacturers and will that add to your knowledge of toy trains?

Enjoy the adventure!

Open The Times and Travels of Toy Trains (PDF, allow download time) to read about the extended timeline, as seen through the prism of the heritage of Lou Redman, “Mr. TCA,” and the wonderful organization he served for so many years.

From Lou Redman’s Family Photo Album:

Lou and Jodi Redman, 1950.

Ruth & Carol, 1955.

Railroad Shop Visit, 1968.

From National Toy Train Museum and Library:

At TCA’s beginning, Yardley, PA
Front row right.
Harry’s Hardware Exhibit
Lou’s News Video Exhibit
Lou Redman was TCA Charter Member #3. A pioneer in TCA’s early years and a central figure in its development for decades, he served as both Treasurer and Secretary. The typewriter that he used to produce years of TCA’s early records and publications is at the National Toy Train Library.

~~Click pictures for larger versions. ~~