model train set on track

Learn More About Your Favorite Toy Train Manufacturers

Change has been a constant among toy train manufacturers throughout history. Even among the biggest brands that still exist today, ownership changes affected things like production quality at various points.  

As you become experienced with the toy train hobby, you will become familiar with the companies that have gone out of business or been bought out by competitors. This list on Wikipedia offers some insight into 48 different brands that made toy trains throughout history. (Though there have been many more than 48!) 

Who is Your Favorite Toy Train Maker?

Whether you collect modern era trains made by Lionel or LEGO, or you prefer vintage trains from companies like Märklin or Marx, you can learn more about your favorites with the Train Collectors Association!

Search the Database 

Ready to research? Browse books, handbooks, catalogs, advertisements, photographs and more in our database from the National Toy Train Library collection. Search by keyword or an advanced search. 

More Toy Train Information for Collectors 


Toy trains come in different sizes, reflecting different rail gauges—the distance between the main rails on the track—and scales. We have information for you about some of the most popular toy and model train gauges. 

Grading Standards 

TCA has adopted standards to help guide toy train collectors and encourage common terminology usage when describing things like item categories and conditions. Visit our Grading Standards section of the website for more information. 


Creating scale environments for toy trains is something that many collectors dedicate a lot of time to. Layouts may be purely make-believe settings, or they can be designed as scaled-down versions of real-world locations.

Grow Your Love of Toy Trains with Other Enthusiasts. Join TCA Today! 

If you are not yet a member of the Train Collectors Association, you’re missing out. TCA Members receive a long list of tangible benefits that put them on the toy train collectors’ inside track! These include free admission to the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA, as well as access to special collections of material in the National Toy Train Library, among other great perks and benefits our TCA members enjoy.  

Ready to get involved and join our excellent organization with thousands of other model and toy train enthusiasts around the world?