Benefits of TCA membership

ecd15 posted:

Of course, the ROI of your TCA membership relies heavily on the quality of your local division.  Not all divisions are created equally.

That is so true! When I joined back in 1981, I was living in Denver (Rocky Mountain Division). I had a lot of fun, and the group was very active. We did big meets quarterly, and business meetings with some train related program monthly, followed by going out to dinner.

When I moved back to my true home, I was in the Lakes and Pines Division. Nice guys, and I'm still friends with a bunch of them, but the division activities on the whole were underwhelming to say the least.

My taste in trains has evolved over the years, and I have no interest in anything made in the 20th century. This kind of makes the publication useless to me, along with the grading system. If I'm looking for used trains, I shop eBay. Most of what I buy these days is new.

In my 25+ years in TCA, I never went to York. I dropped out more than 10 years ago, and haven't missed it at all.

Dan, since you are a fairly new TCA member, take the time to explore some of the fun things mentioned in this thread.  I'm also attending the TCA convention in Pittsburgh this summer, my first TCA convention.  In addition to the York Meet, along with this forum, over time you'll discover many friendships that will enhance your enjoyment of the hobby.  I've met people from all over the country and it's amazing the bond that is formed by model trains.

Here are some of the Benefits of TCA Membership.

Additionally, here are some of the TCA Member Services.

The TCA has a pretty good buy / sell section too.  The TCA X-change

You can even Find TCA Train Events in your area.

And for all your TCA information --> The Train Collector's Association Website

Brian

President, Chief Executive Officer

Penn American Railroad

"Serving the Basement"

 

Northern Central High Railers (Western Division)

 

Eat, Sleep, Run Trains, Repeat !

Geez, where was this thread 3 days ago. I joined the TCA 2 days ago.  

No matter, I would have done it anyway. Don't know what I will get out of it, but I'm hoping to learn more about what I'm doing. For as long as I have been doing this, I still don't feel like I know very much. I also don't know anyone personally that is involved with this hobby, so maybe that part will change as well. I get to the museum every few years, and really like it, so I don't mind throwing a little money at it. I did notice that there is a TCA meet in Philly coming up this spring, and it is right off the bridge, so I will most likely make it there. After that, I will just keep my eyes open and see what comes along.

 As for York, always wanted to see it, but looming car repairs will keep me from doing any serious train shopping for a little while. So, if I go next month it will be a one day deal, just to get a feel for it. If the weather is nice, I will skip work and jump on my bike and go. If the weather is bad, I will stay home. No point in spending 5 or 6 hours in a car, but 6 hours on the Nomad is a great way to kill a day off, regardless of where I end up.

Chris R.

Hammonton, NJ

Jim 1939 posted:

Got the same e-mail this morning, it also told about special lighting that is being installed at the money pit. That kind of spending my friends is why our dues jump fifteen dollars.

This type of comment exemplifies the lack of understanding there is regarding the TCA and it's finances.  The dues were raised in 2013.  They have not gone up since.  It's been four years and people are still whining over this issue? 

 

Jonathan Peiffer

Modeling the NY&LB in Arizona

TCA Member 01-53047

PRRT&HS Member 8880

SFRHMS Member 6739

Paradise & Pacific Railroad Member

Friendly Rivet Counter

Jim 1939 posted:

Got the same e-mail this morning, it also told about special lighting that is being installed at the money pit. That kind of spending my friends is why our dues jump fifteen dollars.

If you have read up as the progress of the LED lighting updates have been done, you would find a lot of that has been covered by donations outside of membership dues.  Some areas were specifically sponsored by individuals or local TCA Chapters or Divisions.  I cannot cite a specific example from memory, but I know I've read about it, possibly in the Headquarters News over the last few years.

Since those facts don't fit your narrative of everything at the museum being a money pit, I guess they don't matter.

I like the Quarterly magazine.

I will also stay on as member because I stay at the fairgrounds at York and you have to be a member to get a spot.

50,60,75,or even100.00 or whatever they raise it to in the future it's still worth it to me. I'm right on grounds I eat two meals (or maybe 3) right in my camper. I bring my dog ...it's 4 or 5 days out of the "maze" of my miserable job . Cannot put a price on that !

Bob Taylor


GG1 4877 posted:
Jim 1939 posted:

Got the same e-mail this morning, it also told about special lighting that is being installed at the money pit. That kind of spending my friends is why our dues jump fifteen dollars.

This type of comment exemplifies the lack of understanding there is regarding the TCA and it's finances.  The dues were raised in 2013.  They have not gone up since.  It's been four years and people are still whining over this issue? 

 

Not to mention the fact that $50 is comparable to many other similar organizations, and it's less than NMRA.

Just got my dues notice for a railroad society to which I belong - $50/yr, quarterly magazine, small convention that isn't much more than a glorified meet.  

I knew my comment would not be taken kindly but that's how I see it. I doubt if I'm alone.

I don't think you are alone regarding concern over the money lost by the museum. I firmly believe that the TCA needs to find a way to make the museum self supporting.
I don't see cutting off funding for improvements to be the way to accomplish that.
Just read an article about Sears, which is currently circling the drain. The current owner did just that.

I am not so sure that fancy lighting will draw more people, but maybe the new Lego train feature will.

I still think the TCA needs some corporate sponsorship for the museum. Cash, not donated goods.
How about it Lionel, MTH, Atlas, and all those other toy train companies?
Maybe a few magazine publishers too.,

C.W. Burfle

Most donated goods are sold off at auction, usually for less than their value, so leaving them your trains really doesn't help much. CWB I think sponsor's would be a good idea for them to try but they really need to curb spending on that museum.

TCA - Glancy Trains Modular Group
   

BANDOB posted:

Very, very interesting discussion! 

One could ask:

What do I get for my money?

or...

What am I giving by my money?

 

Isn't everything like that?  When I was much younger I needed to be more concerned about "value" vs "so what I want it"

TCA = York for my wife and I.  We've had a routine that fits us.  It does appear to be an older folks event. Also I buy less every meet.  I do like seeing the actual products and who makes it.

Occasionally I've done a transaction with a member meet up at York.  I think if someone wants to downsize their collection, taking a table at York would be a great way to do so.  I hate to list online and ship and worry about money.  What could be better than selling directly for cash?  Set a price to sell and clean out the closets.    

C W Burfle posted:

LED lighting saves $$

How long does it take to break even?
(Save enough on utilities to pay for the conversion)

Good question.  But in the long run it saves on both electric cost and the cost of buying lamps.  Incandescent lamps burn out much more quickly than LED lamps.  Similarly, I changed my outdoor lights to CFLs more than a few years ago and haven't had to replace them yet.  I was replacing halogen lamps more than once a year.  So beside the utility cost saving and the cost of buying new lamps, I don't have to get up on ladders very much these days to change lamps.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

C W Burfle posted:

LED lighting saves $$

How long does it take to break even?
(Save enough on utilities to pay for the conversion)

The simple answer these days is about 5 years for simple ROI depending on local utility rates.  LED prices have significantly dropped in the last three years.  A 7 watt LED is roughly the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent in terms of lumen output.  Factoring in lamp life at about 40,000 hours for an LED vs. 2800 hours for an incandescent it would take 14 incandescent lamps to replace that LED.  This reduces ongoing operations and maintenance budgets.

As a benefit in the hot Southwest, at 4.3 BTUs per watt, an LED fixture produces significantly less heat which in large buildings such as museums can reduce the HVAC equipment size for additional savings.  LED fixtures are the future now that the color rendition issues and dimming have largely been resolved and the costs have come into line.  I see no reason to replace any incandescent lamp with anything but an LED these days. 

Jonathan Peiffer

Modeling the NY&LB in Arizona

TCA Member 01-53047

PRRT&HS Member 8880

SFRHMS Member 6739

Paradise & Pacific Railroad Member

Friendly Rivet Counter

C W Burfle posted:

LED lighting saves $$

How long does it take to break even?
(Save enough on utilities to pay for the conversion)

Commercial payback is often less than one year.  That includes reduced utility cost and longer replacement cycle.  I haven't tallied results for home use yet but suspect it's not quite as advantageous.  Since we restrict home lighting to a few hours each day the break-even point may be three years. 

Someone suggested TCA lighting replacement is a waste and that's just silly.  If anything, it's an example of spending a little money to save a lot. 

 

I'll go out on a limb here and say one of the benefits of membership is TCA are better than some folks give them credit for.   Oh, that's really bad grammar but you get the gist of it. 

IMO, the discussion over LED bulbs is representative of how a lot of problems are approached these days.

LEDs are an incremental change which will have a positive benefit, so TCA shouldn't dismiss it just because it will take awhile to pay off.  At the same time, other things need to be done.

There are lots of things that need to be fixed re TCA, and no single initiative is going to fix everything.  We shouldn't let "better is the enemy of good" prevent us from making progress.

eddie g posted:

......you can't afford to buy trains. Just my 2 cents. Seeing friend's that I have seen at York over the past 40 years has no price.

I think part of promoting this hobby is keeping it affordable. Use to cost say 30$'s take 2 kids to a ball game. Now 200+ too pay high priced players and refreshments. If you want a hobby not to be elitist. It has to be available to a wider audience. Why do many think it's dyeing? Small shops closing.

If one thinks there's no benefit to joining TCA, don't. Doesn't mean it's not open to discuss issues or benefits. The TCA has to realise there is competition from on-line buying and selling.

They should try and promote interest in the hobby, so people can afford to be involved.

MHO

My random thoughts re the museum, in no particular order:

I really like the museum - it provides a well-organized, clean, and well-lit display of a little bit of everything related to toy trains without being overwhelming.  It has a good balance of static and moving displays.  I try to visit whenever I'm in the area.  If I wanted to provide someone with an introduction to toy trains, I would gladly pay for their admission; unfortunately, I live 500+ miles away and nobody in their right mind would spend the necessary travel time in a car with me.

It's a Taj Mahal for toy trains, and I'm not sure how it can be made financially viable in today's world.  Not being a creative marketing type, and since I'm already a train nut, I don't know how to make it more appealing to a wider audience.  Maybe a train play area and more programs for kids would generate some interest.  Didn't TCA have some kind of overnight event a couple of years ago?  Perhaps the cross-marketing with other area attractions could be pursued more aggressively - for example, anyone visiting the Choo Choo Barn really should visit the museum, and vice versa.

Changing the displays more frequently might generate some interest, but doing so presents some challenges.  Finding enough volunteers to do the work is one challenge, not to mention that cycling some of the items on display might mean that important items won't be seen.

The museum also serves an important function by providing a physical location for the archives and library, which along with the availability of research assistance are services that are unique to TCA among the toy train clubs.  It's easy to complain about the increase in dues relative to other toy train clubs, but TCA is providing expensive benefits that the other clubs don't.  (NMRA provides similar library and archive services for scale modelers, and it faces similar challenges.  Oh, and NMRA dues are 32% higher than TCA.) 

I consider the museum to be one of the most important benefits of TCA, as it serves as a repository of information and a way to share toy trains with a wider audience, so I'm happy to support it with my dues.  It's disheartening to read so many comments that focus only on how their membership benefits themselves.

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