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How many of you remember our hobby before PCs, the internet, and forums like this one? Before all that, the TCA filled a vital gap in learning and communication. Now, it is no big surprise that membership is falling among non-York goers. It's not a negative reflection on the TCA, just a fact of life. I think it's a positive refection on the TCA that membership is as high as it is.

I went to the 35 cent admission day at the museum and had to people who never met me before sign for me. They were both very nice and I enjoyed talking to them,but if you are going to have a two signature rule it only has value lf you know the person. Thats why it makes no sense to me. At least they got rid of the 25$ initiation fee. They gained my membership because of that. John

Originally Posted by C W Burfle:

Why does the TCA need new members?

Because in any organization people quit, people die and in some cases they get thrown out. Sometimes you need new members just to increase your revenue or just maintain the staus quo so you can still offer a viable product. At what point would you decide it's time to get some new blood in the group? When it's past the point of no return? That's a pretty short sighted, especially if you care about the continuance of the TCA. Unless you feel that it won't impact you since you probably will have long since departed this mortal coil before the TCA finally subcums to dwindling membership, then that's just selfish. Are you afraid that new members might embrace ideas that the old guard won't even entertain to improve the group thereby forcing changes that you don't approve of? Remember everyone in the group gets a say in things and many make valid points and don't like to be dismissed out of hand by those who feel they should just be quiet and do as their told. Nor are they idiots who badmouth the TCA as one poster described them simply because they feel passionately about their position. Like it or not change happens and organizations evolve, if you don't want that to happen maybe the TCA should lock its membership and not recruit new members and wait for the inevitable end because that's what happens when you don't recruit new members.

If the rule gets overturned great, if not I'm not going to quit but I'm also not going to change my feelings on the subject.

 

Jerry

Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:

Considering that far fewer people "collect" (anything) these days, maybe having "Collectors" in the name is not helping.

I can't see why the word "Collectors" would keep anyone away.  Have people become so lazy that they judge the worthiness of an organization solely on its name?  If someone has an interest in O gauge trains, even just from an operating or modelling point of view, they would still be interested in looking for outlets and markets for buying the models and supplies they need, and that path will eventually lead them to York and/or TCA local meets.  Whether or not joining the organization has any other benefits for the individual is always entirely up to the individual.  I can see where the quarterly magazine wouldn't be of much interest to modellers and operators, but the ads in the National Headquarters News and the online members-only marketplace would still be of benefit to people looking for specific pieces, as would the opportunities to connect with and socialize with others of like mind and a shared interest in trains.

 

Andy

Irregardless of how the vote goes, I think some perspective is due. If we did not think that the TCA had value, we would not get worked up over a tempest in a teapot sort of mindset. The TCA magazine is one of few ( less than half a handful) places where I can learn about the history and variety of toy trains. It's public collection is superb. The York meeting is a wonder. Lets  not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Yes, I do not not think the rule should be changed but if it does, I can abide by how the vote turns out either way. I think that's called a democratic process and the fact it was put up for a vote is to be commended. To me in all the opinions, we lose track of the overall merits of this organization, or so it seems to me. All the brickbats seem misplaced and again, the whole debate seems to skew the point of the exercise, which is the wonderful work of volunteers who keep the wheels turning beyond armchair generals like myself or others. Dividing the whole of it into collectors versus operators is a straw dog. How many operators are not collectors? This proposition seems silly. Many collectors are operators as well. We all have one thing in common, the hobby and..the TCA. No York? No buy and sell without Ebay? etc. The mind boggles at the thought of not having such a great resource at a affordable membership cost.

Last edited by electroliner
Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:

Considering that far fewer people "collect" (anything) these days, maybe having "Collectors" in the name is not helping.

I would bet that fully 90% of the participants on this forum are collectors, whether they are willing to admit it or not.  Most have more trains than they can operate on their layout (if they even have one) at any one time.  Hence, they are "collecting" objects.

I posted in a different thread that I am new to the hobby and was interested in going to the York show.   Since the sponsor signature rule has been eliminated anyone have suggestions on how to expedite an application so I can attend the show?   Should I just show up at the gate with application and $$ in hand?  Will I get in?  (I'm only about 15 miles from the fairgrounds).    

Originally Posted by JB_GPS:

I posted in a different thread that I am new to the hobby and was interested in going to the York show.   Since the sponsor signature rule has been eliminated anyone have suggestions on how to expedite an application so I can attend the show?   Should I just show up at the gate with application and $$ in hand?  Will I get in?  (I'm only about 15 miles from the fairgrounds).    


Just show up at Memorial Hall East (Silver Hall). It's too late for on-line registration. No signature or 2-signature, they will join you up right there.  Thurs and Fri registration opens at 8:30 AM.

Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:
Considering that far fewer people "collect" (anything) these days, maybe having "Collectors" in the name is not helping.

Most of the member I know place more emphasis on their collecting than they do on operating, many do not even have a layout.

 

 

Originally Posted by C W Burfle:
Sure, why not drop the collecting aspect altogether.


Interesting; but if you look at the TCA homepage their mission statement is:

"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.""

If it bothers you to be associated with collectors possibly you should look into joining the TTOS rather than trying to change the basic mission of the club.

Originally Posted by cbojanower:
As of today the two signature rule is gone, join now


Back when the rule was properly observed, if you met a TCA member you could be reasonably certain that he was a straightforward honest person. With the abolition of the rule the only thing you can be certain of is that he had $30 when he went to register. I am not trying to insult anyone, I am not saying that people who want to join without sponsors is dishonest, all I am saying is that by admitting any unknown person we open ourselves to possibly admitting unscrupulous people.

Just so you know that this is not the rant of some crazy old man, I am in my mid 50s and have belonged to TCA since I was a senior in high school.

 

The way I joined was I met some other collectors through my LHS and after they had known me for a while, they took me as a guest to several TCA meets. When it was clear that I was a toy train enthusiast they happily sponsored me into the TCA.

Again, I am not trying to insult anyone, I just felt I should give some justification for a differing opinion.

Roland

Originally Posted by rdigilio:
Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:
Considering that far fewer people "collect" (anything) these days, maybe having "Collectors" in the name is not helping.

Most of the member I know place more emphasis on their collecting than they do on operating, many do not even have a layout.

 

 

 

 

 

Roland

When I said "not helping" I was thinking of potential new, perhaps younger members. I doubt if many 18-30 year-olds are collecting, or even running, pre and post-war. I'm sorry, but I don't happen to think the fact that a person owns 100 various freight cars make them a "collector".


 

Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:
Originally Posted by rdigilio:
Originally Posted by Joe Hohmann:
Considering that far fewer people "collect" (anything) these days, maybe having "Collectors" in the name is not helping.

Most of the member I know place more emphasis on their collecting than they do on operating, many do not even have a layout.

 

 

 

 

 

Roland

When I said "not helping" I was thinking of potential new, perhaps younger members. I doubt if many 18-30 year-olds are collecting, or even running, pre and post-war. I'm sorry, but I don't happen to think the fact that a person owns 100 various freight cars make them a "collector".

That fewer people "collect" anything these days is based on studies by antique/collectables publications. Previously, if a person had a interest in Kodak cameras offered during the 1930s, many would try to get every model and color variation...even if some were not in great condition. Today, a person is more likely to stop at 5 or 6 in excellent/like-new condition, and display them in the living room.


 

 

Train collectors have always marched to their own tune. I wouldn't worry about the studies done by antique/collectables magazines.

I have met many collectors over the years. It seems that most of them started out as operators, and developed an interest in collecting over time. Some of them continued to operate as well, others dropped operation.

Collecting is at the core of the TCA's mission. Were the collecting aspect to be de-emphasized, then the organization might well not exist for many members.

There are already multiple organizations and publications catering to the operator.

While (as far as I know) operators have always been welcome in the TCA, refocusing the TCA to operating as its prime mission would make it just a "me too" organization.

 




quote:
After all, how many of us, as we were given our first train were told, "Now don't run this; just display it on a shelf"?




 

A few years back we gave a couple a Lionel Ballyhoo Circus set as a gift for the arrival of their first child. They set it up for christmas, but decided it was too nice to let their very young child handle.

So we gave them a second train, with inexpensive components, so the child would have something to put his hands on.

 

IMHO, the best train for a child is one they can handle.

 

 

 

 

If God had meant for us to fly, he wouldn't have given us the railways. -- Unknown

This goes back to the original post on this thread, but to give credit where it is due, this is from the British comedy duo of Michael Flanders and Donald Swann aka "Flanders and Swann."  They used it in introducing a wonderfully evocative song called "On the slow train" that lamented the disappearance in Britain of the small local trains and the little towns they served with their uniquely colorful British names.

 

Although this version is the only one I see quoted on the internet, I believe I have an old 33-1/3 LP where Flanders says "If God had meant for us to fly, He would never have invented the railways."

Originally Posted by C W Burfle:

Train collectors have always marched to their own tune. I wouldn't worry about the studies done by antique/collectables magazines.

I have met many collectors over the years. It seems that most of them started out as operators, and developed an interest in collecting over time. Some of them continued to operate as well, others dropped operation.

Collecting is at the core of the TCA's mission. Were the collecting aspect to be de-emphasized, then the organization might well not exist for many members.

There are already multiple organizations and publications catering to the operator.

While (as far as I know) operators have always been welcome in the TCA, refocusing the TCA to operating as its prime mission would make it just a "me too" organization.

 

I couldn't agree more, C.W.!  I consider myself an operator first and foremost, but I have a large and eclectic collection of toy trains in various scales.  I was an "operator" when I joined the TCA some 20 years ago, and even well before that time, but I certainly haven't been snubbed or otherwise disparaged by the collecting community (many of whom are longtime dear friends). 

 

If the TCA was to change its name and/or its mission (highly doubtful), I simply would not renew my membership.  If an "operator" does not feel that the TCA has anything to offer him, then the problem is with that individual, not with the organization.  I'm really getting a bit tired of people trying to change things just for the sake of change, or to make something conform to their expectations without regard for the feelings and interests of others.

 

Truth is--and I've said this often over the years--the collectors will be the ones who save and perpetuate this hobby in the future, just as they did in the past.  They are the unifying force.

 

C.W. Burfle and Allan Miller,

 

Well said. I started as an operator of Postwar Lionel. At the time I told everyone that I was an operator rather than a collector because I could not afford to be a collector. But things change and with exposure to the wonderful variety of tinplate I gradually made the transition through various American prewar and then to European where I have settled in comfortably.I would expect that there are a good number of TCA members with similar stories.

 

I still appreciate the phases I went through previously and if I had the space and money I would still collect every category from the past as well as some others that I have only been able to admire from afar. But money and space being what they are I have narrowed my scope and tend to stay "on track" (sorry) with only minor excursion now and then.

 

I do enjoy Running the trains, but unfortunately space constraints prevent even a temporary layout, at least for the present. It has been 10 years since I last had a layout

 

Roland

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