Featured Library Resource

featured exhibit

A Collector’s Guide to BEGGS

This work of scholarly research by James Burke, Jr. reflects the type of information found in the Library, often drawing on original resources available here and providing insight into the history, economics, and technology of toy trains.

Read More

View Past Featured Resources

What’s in the National Toy Train Library Collection?

The National Toy Train Library (NTTL) houses a one-of-a-kind collection of information on the history and characteristics of toy trains in the United States and elsewhere. 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.

As a research library that does not lend materials, we are proud to safeguard the cultural and commercial heritage of toy trains and the significant industry that produced them. Ready to discover more? We invite you to browse this page to get a glimpse of what we offer—or visit us in Strasburg, PA!

Over 1,500 Books

Researchers as well as toy and model train enthusiasts of all ages will be pleased to discover our National Toy Train Library’s holdings, which comprise a truly impressive selection of books (among other materials). Find everything from instruction books, repair guides, and parts lists to published historical materials on many toy and model train makers, Greenberg Guides, and even a collection of over 200 Children’s books.

The best part? You can search for our online catalog for books and more via our PastPerfect database! If you don’t see what you are looking for, please contact us! Only a selection of what we own is searchable on the online catalog.

Magazines, Catalogs, Advertising Material & Ephemera

Our collections include hundreds of thousands of individual items, such as:

  • Trade catalogs of toy and model train manufacturers and retailers, many long gone
  • Toy train and model railroading periodicals
  • Magazine advertisements from publications like Youth’s Companion, Child Life, Popular Mechanics, Ladies Home Journal, and many more
  • Photographs and postcards

Some specific examples of unique treasures in our library collections include:

Archives of the Train Collectors Association

The National Toy Train Library houses the TCA archives with material dating to the Association’s founding in 1954.

Kids’ Section + All Kinds of Toys!

The National Toy Train Library has over 200 children’s books in our collection, some dating back to the 1940s. We welcome kids and their parents to stop in and browse through these books or sit down and read a story together from the kids’ bookshelf.

In addition to books on toy trains, the NTTL has information on all kinds of toys. We collect books about everything that can be found on a layout.

Visitors will find books about cars and trucks, soldiers, penny toys, toy buildings and structures, mechanical and live steam toys, and much more. Come in and discover what we have!

TCA Member Oral History Recordings

Our Oral History Project captures the recollections of TCA members about the hobby and their experiences in our organization. We have captured hundreds of hours of conversation, including many fascinating stories.

More than 50 individual interviews have been recorded and transcribed to date. Visit the library to listen to the interviews or view the transcripts.  Some excerpts from oral histories have been published in the past as articles in The Train Collectors Quarterly or TCA’s e*Train.

Call (717) 687-8623 ext. 108 or email to request more information.

Visit Us!

The National Toy Train Library is located on the premises of the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA, and is open weekdays from 8:30am to 4:30pm. We strongly encourage anyone interested in visiting the library to call ahead to make an appointment. We invite all toy train enthusiasts—including kids—to stop in and see what we have to offer.

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

Attention Researchers: Before visiting, we encourage you to call ahead 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!

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.

Call (717) 687-8623 ext. 108 or email 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.

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.

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.