This is our main member category. Any person who collects or operates tinplate trains (definition), who collects any items relating to tinplate trains, or professes a serious interest therein may apply for membership. Applicants for membership must file a formal membership application.
How the Application Process Works:
Dues are currently $50 a year. The customary additional application fee of $25 is being temporarily waived. The annual dues includes a $4.50 subscription fee for the National Headquarters News, the five times a year members’ only publication.
This applicant's information will be published for review by the entire membership in the National Headquarters News.
In the event that three members file written complaints against the probationary member, full membership is withheld until the National Membership Committee has considered the matter.
TCA Member Cards and Numbers
Membership cards are sent by US mail following processing of applications. Member numbers are assigned by the National Business Office, and consist of a preface indicating the join year and a sequence number.
NOTICE. Each applicant must agree to observe the following TCA rules, which represent an integral part of every member's commitment to its established standards of conduct. In submitting an application, you will be required to agree as follows:
I hereby subscribe to the purposes, policies and duties of its members as described in the bylaws of the Train Collectors Association™ (TCA). I also understand and agree to the admission procedures. I agree to comply with all of the rules and regulations of the TCA and its Divisions and Chapters in effect from time to time, specifically including all the rules and regulations of all TCA committees and any actions and rulings of all TCA Committees. I also agree that all items sold by me to any TCA Member or at any TCA-sponsored meet shall be sold on the basis that I represent that all such items are authentic and in the manufacturer's original condition unless I have caused any such item to be appropriately marked as a restoration or reproduction.
You may also file your application and payment by US Mail, but this is not recommended and will delay processing. See paper application form here.
"Tinplate" is a term applied to toy trains originally built of thin stamped metal, but more broadly it includes plastic trains as well, their over-riding characteristic being that they were built for mass-market enjoyment rather than the precise scale that some of today's model railroad craftsmen build and enjoy.
This new category is now available. This category is for persons under age 18. Dues are half the regular dues (thus $25 per year currently). Junior members may participate in TCA events and receive publications, but may not vote, hold office, or participate in TCA-sponsored sales or purchasing programs such as sales tables or listing items for sale in the Interchange or the Buysell site.
Before your application can be activated, you must submit the written approval of your parent or guardian to join. You may do this by printing out this form and mailing it to Membership, Train Collectors Association, PO Box 248, Strasburg, PA 17579. You may also email a signed PDF of the form to firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX it to 717-687-0742. You may not hear from us until this form is received!
Junior members must become regular members at age eighteen, or be dropped from membership.
The TCA Kids Club is a great way to learn about toy trains and how the hobby works. Membership in the Club is not a regular TCA membership, but rather an introductory status which is free to all children up to age 18 sponsored by a TCA member.
At age 18, Kids Club members can convert their membership into a full TCA membership, paying only half the regular member TCA dues until age 24.
Train Collectors Association Mission Statement:
"To develop an appreciation of and to preserve an important segment of history - Tinplate Toy Trains - through research, education, community outreach, fellowship, establishment of collecting standards, and to promote the growth and enjoyment of collecting and operating toy, model and scale trains."