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Shortly after buying my first O gauge engine and cars in 2012, I joined this Forum.  Not long after that, Pittsburgh area Forum member Patrick H saw I was from north of Pittsburgh, and he invited me to a get together at his home layout with a breakfast at a local restaurant.  It was shortly before the Spring 2013 York meet, and nearly everyone I met asked if I was going to York.  You may have been one of them, Andy Hummell.  I didn't get to York for 4 more years, but I did join the TCA with that in mind.  I have only been to York twice.  Yes, I can get into the Fort Pitt TCA meets as a visitor an hour after members get in, but I thought I should support the organization that puts on the meets. 

 I think that the founding members of the TCA would think this topic a joke...

Would they find it a joke... Or would they be disappointed that a majority of replies from today's members have joined just to attend shows?  

It's today's leaders who have not found new and interesting ways to show membership has many different values to current members.

For instance, their publication mainly focuses on pre and post war toys and is still printed on newspaper print.  That leaves the rest of us in the hobby uninterested and out in the cold.  I am saddened to say my publication hits the recycle bin within 30 minutes of its arrival.  For about half the price, we can receive OGR on high gloss on varying topics from the last 100 years of model trains.

And the "making friends" part...  I've been a TCA member for a better part of a decade.  I've made more friends and acquaintances on this FREE forum than I have through the TCA.  So they have some competition there too.

No one should think this is a joke.  If TCA shows continue to get cancelled or fade away, by looking at the replies above, so would a good portion of membership.

TCA should be concerned... not laughing.

Respectfully submitted.

Ron

 

@Ron045 posted:
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For instance, their publication mainly focuses on pre and post war toys and is still printed on newspaper print.  That leaves the rest of us in the hobby uninterested and out in the cold.  I am saddened to say my publication hits the recycle bin within 30 minutes of its arrival.  For about half the price, we can receive OGR on high gloss on varying topics from the last 100 years of model trains.

..........................

 

I'm curious the math you are doing there.  Are you comparing the price of a year's membership in TCA to the price of a one year subscription to OGR?

Apples and Oranges, if that's it.  Unless you can tell me where to go visit the OGR Model & Toy Train Museum ! (or many other TCA things that are supported by general membership dollars, but that is admittedly the biggest one).  The paper Headquarters News is not meant to be like an OGR magazine.  The TCA Quarterly (while still obviously not as big as an issue of OGR) is the publication with a little more "in depth" articles (I will admit many are of topics on older items).

The Headquarters News serves it's purpose.  And it generally has many listings for modern trains as well, it doesn't end at 1969.  Obviously the numbers of ads are going down as more people use the electronic format, but the listings are still there.

Not that I was opposed to eliminating the 2 signature rule, but by doing so, it seems (based on some comments in this thread) like it might have hurt people keeping membership up continuously.  With the ability to drop and rejoin at will, it seems at least some people are looking at it as "I'll join if I want to go to the next York and then let it lapse until the next time I want to go to York".  I don't think a lot of people were dropping in/out like that in the signature days.  At some point there may be no more TCA to join or York to go to if the majority of folks start operating like that.

-Dave

Last edited by Dave45681

I originally joined TCA to go to York, in fact, it was in the parking lot near the Red Hall that I got 2 signatures from guys I met there.  That was Fall 2000.  Since then I have missed a total of 4 meets.  So yes, York was (and is) a big reason for my membership.  However, I also attended a number of the Keystone Division meets when I lived in the Hershey / Hummelstown area.  I've also attended one of the Fort Pitt Division meets, although the scheduling of their meets on Sunday mornings is a bit disrespectful and inconvenient.  I won't skip church to go to a train meet.  The Keystone Division "leadership" doesn't seem to read or react to emails or even requests for business meeting dates / times.    They are certainly not a reason to remain a member.

I've bought things out of their HQ news.  The TCA Quarterly is a brief, but occasionally amusing read.

But York remains the major reason for membership, although it's more about the people I see there rather than trains at this point.  Trains are a close second. 

George

@Dave45681 posted:

...Unless you can tell me where to go visit the OGR Model & Toy Train Museum ! (or many other TCA things that are supported by general membership dollars, but that is admittedly the biggest one). 

How many rare and unusual items would we have the chance to see if we had to rely on access to private collections?

@Dave45681 posted:

 

...At some point there may be no more TCA to join or York to go to if the majority of folks start operating like that.

Bingo and amen!

@G3750 posted:

I originally joined TCA to go to York, in fact, it was in the parking lot near the Red Hall that I got 2 signatures from guys I met there.  That was Fall 2000.  Since then I have missed a total of 4 meets.  So yes, York was (and is) a big reason for my membership.  However, I also attended a number of the Keystone Division meets when I lived in the Hershey / Hummelstown area.  I've also attended one of the Fort Pitt Division meets, although the scheduling of their meets on Sunday mornings is a bit disrespectful and inconvenient.  I won't skip church to go to a train meet.  The Keystone Division "leadership" doesn't seem to read or react to emails or even requests for business meeting dates / times.    They are certainly not a reason to remain a member.

I've bought things out of their HQ news.  The TCA Quarterly is a brief, but occasionally amusing read.

But York remains the major reason for membership, although it's more about the people I see there rather than trains at this point.  Trains are a close second. 

George

George, You are like me.  Until I get out of church in Butler and make the 45-minute drive to Harmarville, I don't get there until well past noon.  It was the same distance for me to the meets when they were held in Cranberry; perhaps before you moved back to the area.  I attended one meet.  I know that many folks would not be able to attend a Saturday meet because they work on Saturdays and not Sundays, and I am respectful of that.  Each of us has to set his or her own priorities as does each division.

There are easy ways to have small meetings when the weather is nice.  NETCA is having its first meeting of the year this coming Sunday.  IT will be in the parking lot of the Minute Man Visitor Center, part of the NPS.  We'll be able to back up our SUV's, vans and pickups to a grassy area where there are a few picnic tables.  There will be some selling but a small group.  So far I have 16 members in 14 vehicles who are planning to come.  There's enough room to minimize the necessity of masks - part time where we crowd together.

Anyone can set up a meet like this.  All that is needed is someone who will take the initiative to check out likely parks and their parking and lawn configuration, set a time and invite the membership.

Speaking of invites, a local email list is needed.  All division officers have access to the national list, which has email addresses for 897 of the 1087 members in the NETCA area.  I set up NETCA-meets@groups.io and sent invites to join to all of those 897 members - got 50.  So there's a way for those really interested and willing to exert a bit of effort to have some local meets.

 

 

There are easy ways to have small meetings when the weather is nice.  NETCA is having its first meeting of the year this coming Sunday.  IT will be in the parking lot of the Minute Man Visitor Center, part of the NPS.  We'll be able to back up our SUV's, vans and pickups to a grassy area where there are a few picnic tables.  There will be some selling but a small group.  So far I have 16 members in 14 vehicles who are planning to come.  There's enough room to minimize the necessity of masks - part time where we crowd together.

Anyone can set up a meet like this.  All that is needed is someone who will take the initiative to check out likely parks and their parking and lawn configuration, set a time and invite the membership.

Speaking of invites, a local email list is needed.  All division officers have access to the national list, which has email addresses for 897 of the 1087 members in the NETCA area.  I set up NETCA-meets@groups.io and sent invites to join to all of those 897 members - got 50.  So there's a way for those really interested and willing to exert a bit of effort to have some local meets.

 

 

I am in central Massachusetts and I would like to be included on your email list. I tried to send an email to the address embedded in your post but it was kicked back.

Back in the 70's when I lived in Ann Arbor I was buying trains at garage sales.  Met someone who said that were a lot of people that liked trains and they had a club.  I joined the TCA in 1970.  It was fun going to meets in Michigan and Ohio.  Never made it to York.  I suppose it is still the Holy Grail.  Now live in deep south Texas and there are no meets south of San Antonio 250 miles up state.

It never occurred to me to not be a member of the TCA.  Don't have the benefit of the closeness of people and meets as in the northeast but the internet has leveled the playing field in terms of finding and acquiring trains.  The other day I received an envelope from the National Headquarters.  It wasn't a Gold Watch but was kind of nice.2020-09-29 08-07-43_0219

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I live in CA and joined TCA in 1976 and got to go to meets and see Layouts,now not so much.I just paid my dues renewal probably for the last time due to the fact that we paid full dues for no events in 2020.I have attended York five times as late as Oct 2019 and Even they are starting to fade.It is a very pricy trip to fly Cross Country and get a Hotel and rental car.I can buy what I need from the Sponsor vendors on this Forum.I hope TCA realizes that members should get some return for their dues.

Mikey

@mikey posted:

I live in CA and joined TCA in 1976 and got to go to meets and see Layouts,now not so much.I just paid my dues renewal probably for the last time due to the fact that we paid full dues for no events in 2020.I have attended York five times as late as Oct 2019 and Even they are starting to fade.It is a very pricy trip to fly Cross Country and get a Hotel and rental car.I can buy what I need from the Sponsor vendors on this Forum.I hope TCA realizes that members should get some return for their dues.

Mikey

Being a member since 1976, you certainly have a long view perspective. You mention "I have attended York five times as late as Oct 2019 and Even they are starting to fade." 

I'm curious, when was your first York and how has York changed and evolved compared to the last time that you went?

 

Truth be told, yes, it was to attend the York Meet.

And an interesting story on the old two signatures rule. When I called the TCA office, the helpful woman on the phone said the following..." I'm going to fax you an application with two signatures of members on it. Use that." And she did. The form had two members names/signatures that were all but illegible and the form had obviously been duplicated many times over.

I did not originally join for York but over the years, York is why I continued to be a member.   I just let my membership lapse 2 days ago as to me the cost of membership is not worth it without the York meet.  Once York starts back up, I'll rejoin.   I will state this - if they had a $25 membership option with no York I would join to support in years there is no Meet.  Your mileage may vary.

-Greg

Sadly I find no value in a TCA membership.  The organization is stuck in the past. I'm not into prewar, post war or anything pre 2000.  The quarterly is boring, the insurance is over priced,  nothing has ever interest me at the chapter meets.  York is the only reason to join in my opinion but since I never find any diamonds in the ruff in the member halls and the dealer halls are open to the public, what's the point of joining period????

100% for the access to York, when I first got access to the TCA site I was a bit disappointed. I think the market place is a bit of a hot mess.  I would love to buy and sell trains there but it's so unpleasant to work with, and no real search. Can some one's kid just re-do it on square space? I agree the publication also leaves much to be desired. 

When I first got back into the hobby in the late 90’s I didn’t know anyone else interested in trains. I found out about York through the pages of OGR so I decided to join the TCA so I could go to York and hopefully make some friends in the hobby. I did eventually make friends in the hobby and I have enjoyed the times I have gone to York. Meeting friends there always makes the meet more enjoyable. Also on at least 4 occasions going to York has saved me a significant amount of shipping on certain items which completely or almost completely covered my dues for that year. Recently when I had an issue with a vendor at York the TCA really went to bat for me to resolve the situation. I couldn’t be happier with the TCA. 

My one criticism is I wish the Quarterly had a little more space on scale trains and model railroading but I guess they go with what is available or sent to them. I understand it is the Train “Collectors” Association but in this day and age there are a lot of operators. 

In closing it is my opinion that the TCA is well worth the $4.17 a month that I pay them. 

 

I originally joined TCA to go to York in 2005, but that was just a start of my adventures with all the great individuals I met over the years.  I started getting involved with the local shows and had a desire to do more then just going to the shows.  The greatest joy I get in the hobby comes from working with the Ft Pitt Kids Club.  I just love seeing the joy  young people get from watching and sometimes running the trains.  As a club member, and currently the Secretary of the Ft Pitt Division, I have never thought of not being a member and only hope others will continue to support the TCA.  Our board members continue to look for ways to give our members value from their membership.  It has been a difficult year just waiting for when we can get together for meets and all the other activities we did in the past.  I am thankful to all our local members and their continued support of the TCA and the Ft Pitt Division .  Our website hobbytraincollectors.org lets everyone know what is currently happening with the division along with some interesting articles from our online news letter.

Used to go every show  every year  in the early '90's  when I was building and the social exposure was great, however nothing got done on the layout while I was gone.  I have a rather busy weekly schedule so, in losing a Friday once or twice a year, York lost it's appeal to me. 

I now buy the membership every 3 or 4 years just to go to York however on the way home, I usually regret losing a work day.  

There is really not that much different to me from show to show.

Last edited by Tom Tee

Another issue of "Toy" Train Collectors Quarterly showed up today and promptly found the recycle bin after 15 minutes of browsing.

In the past I would not care if my segment of the hobby was not represented... because I just focused on York. 

But now with two missed York shows and an uncertain future, I feel as if the dues for this year was just a waste. 

My membership expires just before the next scheduled show.  I wrote to them and asked for an extension since I did not receive the full (and only) benefit of my membership.  I received a scathing response that not only said no, but then proceeded to tell me I should be donating more money to help them out.

Huh?

Is anyone else frustrated with this organization and want to do something about it?  Feel free to contact me.  Email is in my profile.

Ron

Last edited by Ron045
@Ron045 posted:

 

Is anyone else frustrated with this organization and want to do something about it?  Feel free to contact me.  Email is in my profile.

I'm not frustrated at all.  Of all the organizations I belong to, they seem to be better run than most (a rocketry organization I belong to is in absolute chaos).  TCA's magazine does lean towards the "Toy" aspect of their name, which has little appeal to me.  But it does provide me with good info for when I talk to my toy train friends

This has been a terrible year for all social and service organizations.  For example, Civil Air Patrol has lost many members due to lack of activities, as well as a local train club I belong to.  I'm not going to bail on TCA because the pandemic has limited their ability to support the hobby, because in a normal year they do a lot for the hobby and I support them for that.

York is not a TCA event, it is a chapter run event.  And I fully support Eastern Division's decision to cancel both of this year's shows.  I really hope next year will be better, because I always got great deals at York.  Plus I miss seeing friends.  However, York is not the reason I will stay a TCA member.

@Ron045 posted:

...My membership expires just before the next scheduled show.  I wrote to them and asked for an extension since I did not receive the full (and only) benefit of my membership.  I received a scathing response that not only said no, but then proceeded to tell me I should be donating more money to help them out...

 

In essence, you want to hold TCA liable for being unable to hold the York meet due to circumstances beyond their control, and punish them financially?  In these unusual times, many organizations are facing financial shortfalls - helping them to go broke faster helps nobody.  

And as for the Quarterly not addressing your interests, the publication is only as good as the content that is provided by members - have you offered to write an article?

Most divisions and chapters are dying for people to step up and take leadership positions and provide initiative.  How many of the naysayers have offered to step up and do something other than complain?

So many of the replies to this thread focus on "what's in it for me?" rather than "how can I contribute to the success of the organization and the hobby I love?" - it's a sad commentary on our society. 

Last edited by Mallard4468
@Mallard4468 posted:

In essence, you want to hold TCA liable for being unable to hold the York meet due to circumstances beyond their control, and punish them financially?

Just like everything else in life.  I paid for something.  I expect to receive what I paid for.  If I can't receive what I paid for it reasonable to expect some restitution of some sort.

If someone took your money and gave you nothing in return...  you'd be ok with that?

 

@Ron045 posted:

Just like everything else in life.  I paid for something.  I expect to receive what I paid for.  If I can't receive what I paid for it reasonable to expect some restitution of some sort.

If someone took your money and gave you nothing in return...  you'd be ok with that?

 

Aside from presumably one outstanding admission to York (assuming you had pre-registered for April 2020), you have gotten what you paid for.  (And Eastern Division TCA has said that all pre-registrations from April 2020 will be honored the next time there is a York meet.)

You voluntarily signed up for TCA National in order to be able to attend the York meet as a TCA Member when offered by the EDTCA. 

The York Meet admission is a totally separate item from the TCA National dues, whether you like what the TCA National dues deliver for you (outside of being your pathway to being able to purchase York meet admission as a Member) or not.

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