model train set on track

The National Toy Train Library

The National Toy Train Library (NTTL) is the repository of extensive material about the toy train industry’s rich history—an excellent resource for Train Collectors Association (TCA) members and general researchers alike. The National Toy Train Museum and Library are located at the headquarters of the Train Collectors Association in Strasburg, PA. Our librarian is available to assist you during our regular hours but please call ahead before visiting the library. Or, browse our online catalog today!

National Toy Train Museum Highlight:

The National Toy Train Library creates an annual exhibit in the museum that highlights notable people, manufacturers, events, and more in the history of toy & model trains. The exhibit uses materials from the library’s collection including books, periodicals, photographs, advertisements, and other paper.

Ed Alexander

This years exhibit will focus on Ed Alexander and the formation of TCA. With the 2024 TCA National Convention planned for Lancaster we felt it appropriate to focus on why we are here, instead of any other location in the country. The Toy Train Museum is closed for exhibit updating and so is ours.

Stay tuned as we work on the display – you might get a sneak peak!

What’s In the 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—though we are always happy to share our resources and knowledge with our visitors!

It’s More Than Just Books About Toy Trains

We have over 500,000 items, ranging from popular publications such as Classic Toy Trains magazine to catalogs and related paper, instruction sheets, advertisements, photographs, and more. We seek to document and preserve the story not just of nostalgia but of historical development of toy trains.

Our files on American and World manufacturers as well as our extensive book collection trace the history of toy and model trains from the 1800s to the present.  (The National Toy Train Library also maintains copies of price guides for a number of popular manufacturers; however, we cannot provide appraisals or evaluations.)

To acquire and preserve paper and ephemera relating to toy trains, to guarantee its current and future use; and to provide open access to the collection for research and studies.

Our Mission

Visit Us!

The National Toy Train Museum and Library are located at the headquarters of the Train Collectors Association in Strasburg, PA. Our librarian is available to assist you, but please call ahead to make an appointment to visit the library. We invite all toy and model train enthusiasts – including kids – to stop in and see what we have to offer. Please see the National Toy Train Museum’s yearly calendar for their open hours and seasonal schedule.

Monday8:30am – 4:30pm
Tuesday8:30am – 4:30pm
Wednesday8:30am – 4:30pm
Thursday8:30am – 4:30pm
Friday8:30am – 4:30pm

Attention Researchers: We encourage you to call ahead to make an appointment to set up a research consultation meeting with the library. (717) 687-8623 ext. 108

And don’t forget to follow the National Toy Train Library on Facebook!

Browse All of Our Library Services

Discover more about the wide range of services we offer at the National Toy Train Library.

Books for Sale

View our current inventory of duplicate materials available for purchase. All proceeds support developing the NTTL’s collection.

Digital Archives

Some of our library holdings—mainly images and advertising collections—can be viewed online at home. Learn more here.

Research Requests

Learn more about the wealth of research services we offer to general researchers, collectors, and other toy train enthusiasts.

Services & Fees

Visiting the NTTL is always free, though we charge some small fees for our research and library special services. Learn more.

Form Requests

Find any and all forms you may need to submit with requests related to research and library special services on this page.

Library Donations

The NTTL can accept certain material donations in addition to cash gifts for collections development. Learn how to make a gift.

Have a Question?

Ask the Library

The National Toy Train Library

The National Toy Train Library is overseen by a librarian and a committee of volunteers, who specialize in toy trains from various manufacturers and time periods. The Library is always happy to assist researchers and TCA members both in the physical library and with questions submitted online.

or Call (717) 687-8623 ext. 108 with questions.

Ready to Start Your Toy Train Research? Search the Online Catalog Now!

Wondering if we have a particular resource you’re looking for? Our online catalog—which is regularly updated with new records—provides a glimpse into a significant part of our library holdings.