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The Train Collectors Association

A meeting of interested toy train collectors in Yardley, Pennsylvania, in 1954, resulted in the call to form a train collectors organization. That same year, collectors on the West Coast met with the same intent. The result of these two meetings was the formation of the Train Collectors Association (TCA). The West Coast group would become the Western Division of the TCA.

The mission of the TCA is 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 and scale model trains of all gauges and scales.

The TCA is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is registered as a tax-exempt non-profit under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The National Headquarters and Museum Building in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, was built in 1977 and has since been expanded. The TCA is a worldwide organization, and has tens of thousands of members in twenty Divisions and 20 Chapters. One of the Divisions is the Northern California Division, which is commonly called the Nor-Cal Division. The Nor-Cal Division encompasses the northern portion of California as well as the northern half of Nevada.

Each year there is a National Convention, normally held during the latter part of June. The location changes each year. Each convention includes fellowship opportunities, numerous tours, train rides, educational opportunities, train buying and selling, and a Saturday night banquet.

The Association publishes The Train Collectors Quarterly, a magazine published four times a year. The Quarterly contains many interesting and informative articles regarding toy and model trains. The Quarterly is included with the annual TCA membership dues.

Nor-Cal Division of TCA

The Nor-Cal Division was established in 1957. It was the third division formed in the TCA. In order to become a member of the Division, each person must first become a member of the Train Collectors Association.

The Division has monthly meetings. Currently, most of the meetings are held in the Veterans Memorial Building in Lafayette. The March meet, the largest, is the Spring Cal-Stewart Meet, and is held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Every May the meet moves to Sacramento, hosted by the Sacramento-Sierra Chapter of the Nor-Cal Division. In December, the Nor-Cal Division has their annual holiday party where a catered lunch is provided to members and their families.

The Division publishes The Nor-Cal Express, a quarterly newsletter containing news of the division, photos from train meets, and toy and model train related articles.

History of the Cal-Stewart Meet

The annual Spring Cal-Stewart Meet is normally held in March. The current site for the meet is the Santa Clara Convention Center. The meet attracts TCA members, members of other train and operating clubs, and others from all parts of the country.

The first Spring Cal-Stewart Meet was held in March 1974, at the Edgewater Hyatt Hotel in Oakland. There is also a Fall Cal-Stewart Meet that is hosted by the Southwest Division of the Toy Train Operating Society (TTOS) that is held in Southern California each year. The meets were started through the leadership and untiring efforts of Don Stewart of the Nor-Cal Division. Don was able to organize semi-annual meets between TCA and TTOS. Soon after the first meet Don died. Owing to Don’s extraordinary efforts and untimely death, both the spring and fall meets were named in his honor.

Currently, the annual Nor-Cal Division dues include the admission fee for the Spring Cal-Stewart Meet.

The Toy and Model Train Expo

In an effort to increase the public’s exposure to the hobby, it was decided to allow the public admission to the Spring Cal-Stewart, which occurs on a Sunday. Efforts are being made to broaden the types of trains that will be featured and for sale. Increasing emphasis will be placed on beginner train sets, items that will appeal to younger enthusiasts, and on scale model trains such as HO gauge.

This website is geared to the public. The Nor-Cal website can be visited at