is TCA? What is Nor-Cal?
The Train Collectors Association (TCA) was founded in 1954 in Yardley,
Pennsylvania. The mission of the TCA is "to preserve an important
segment of history- tinplate trains- through research, establishment
of collecting standards, education, community outreach, fellowship,
and to promote the growth and enjoyment of the hobby." The
TCA embraces all aspects of the toy and model train collecting and
operating hobby. The TCA "Kids Club" program encourages
the development of new generations of collectors. The TCA Headquarters
Office and Museum are located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in the
Pennsylvania Dutch countryside, adjacent to the Strasburg Railroad
and the Red Caboose Motel. TCA membership as of April 2014, was
There are nineteen regional Divisions within the TCA. The Northern
California Division (Nor-Cal) was formed in 1957 in order to provide
a local venue for meetings. Nor-Cal holds meetings once a month,
normally on the second Saturday of the month, at the Veterans Memorial
Hall in Lafayette. Trains are bought and sold at meetings, between
members only, but guests are welcome to attend (see details below,
under "How to Join..."). Nor-Cal also holds the big Spring
Cal-Stewart Meet in Santa Clara in March. There are currently (as
of April 8, 2014) 353 dues-paying members in Nor-Cal.
Although collecting and operating our trains is certainly
a joy in itself, the full measure of enjoyment is in meeting with
people of similar interests. In Nor-Cal you will find people who
"speak your language" and share in the pleasure of collecting
and operating toy and model trains. You can find lifelong "train
buddies" in Nor-Cal.
monthly Nor-Cal train meets offer the enjoyment of meeting
with fellow Nor-Cal members,
and also offer the opportunity to browse the many train items offered
for sale. Of course the meets also provide the opportunity to sell
some of your excess trains.
What advantages do our meets offer over buying on EBay?
(1) Buyers can closely inspect trains- no unpleasant surprises!
(2) Sellers can answer questions on history and provenance
(3) There are no shipping charges!
(4) Sellers and buyers can develop a personal relationship
All Nor-Cal members receive the "Nor-Cal Express,"
an 8-page illustrated newsletter, with four to six pages
of original toy train material, four times a year. Members
have the free use of tables for selling trains at local meets. (TCA
members who are not also Nor-Cal members will be charged a fee of
$10 for table use at a Nor-Cal meet). The December meet includes
the annual FREE luncheon for members and their families! As concurrent
members of the national TCA, Nor-Cal members receive the "TCA
Quarterly" full-color magazine (forty pages!)
four times a year and the "National Headquarters News"
(which includes the "Interchange Point" buy/sell pages)
six times a year. Members are eligible to attend the regional meets
such as the Cal-Stewart Meets in February/March in Santa Clara and
October/November in Ontario,CA, the York (Pennsylvania) Meets in
April and October, other regional meets, and the TCA National Convention
that occurs every June (Philadelphia/Cherry Hill, New Jersey in
2014). Special souveneir train cars and accessories, and sometimes
locomotives, are available to the members at these events. Members
may visit the splendid TCA National Museum in Strasburg, Pennsylvania,
free of charge. Additionally, members may avail themselves of the
various services offered through the National Office, including
use of the Toy Train Research Library and special insurance for
their trains. Finally, the national TCA offers many on-line services
to members, including buy/sell/wanted ads, and the online "E-Train"
Survey of Interests
A June 2008 online survey indicated that Nor-Cal members collect
and/or operate toy and model trains in the following proportions
[votes for each gauge divided by the total votes]:
Standard Gauge (and Wide Gauge): 10%
O-Gauge 3-Rail: 41%
O-Gauge 2-Rail: 4%
S-Gauge (American Flyer and other manufacturers): 14%
G-Scale (the Garder Railway sized trains): 3%
Erector and Meccano Sets: 6%
Of course, many members collect and operate more than one gauge.
to join TCA:You
must first join the National TCA, then you can join the Nor-Cal
Division. Click here to be connected to the TCA National new members application
page. After joining TCA National you may come to a regular
(monthly) Nor-Cal meeting and join there. Note that guests are welcome
to come to a Nor-Cal meeting to check it out. However guests cannot
buy or sell, and multiple repeat visits by guests are not approved.
September 13, October 11, November 8 and December
all at the Lafayette Veterans Hall, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.
9, at the San Leandro Historical Society, 1302 Orchard
Avenue, San Leandro.
Nor-Cal Meeting times: Hall
open for setup at 9 AM. Business meeting at 9:30. Trading 10-11:30.
the quarterly "Nor-Cal Express"
newsletter (in full
color)- Click "Newsletter"
Browse the "Photos" and "What's
New" pages by clicking above.
by Richard White and Aase
records hits at this website since December 10, 2004
website updated on July 3, 2014