Sharing our hobby with other like-minded fellows keeps it fresh, entertaining and interesting. I have been fortunate to have a great group of good train friends.
Early in 2019, 3 or 4 of us decided that a good way to keep in touch on a more regular basis, especially during the summer months, would be to schedule a set lunch every month - we chose the first Wednesday of each month. Restaurants varied and, when we picked one near one of our homes, we frequently had post-lunch layout visits.
We were surprised that, through word of mouth, how quickly our small group began growing. On average we were joined by one or two more train loving acquaintances every other month or so. These acquaintances quickly became good train friends. These new friends shared their experiences, collections and/or layouts, and knowledge with the group. We all look forward to getting together.
After some discussion, early in 2020, we decided to call our group the Long Island Train Collecting Aficionados (LITCA).
Our logo and slogan:
Within a few months our group grew to about a dozen members. In addition to enjoying lunch once a month and home layout visits, we sought each other out to travel together to, and/or meet at, local train shows, usually followed by a nice breakfast at one of the many good diners on Long Island.
We coordinate our gatherings, and share what projects we are working on via an e-mail chain. This email chain kept us in touch when we could not physically get together during the Covid 19 pandemic. We never felt isolated as a result. Our monthly lunches resumed as soon as restaurants began re-opening and, despite the restrictions at the time, our little group continued to grow.
Our interactions expanded with what we began calling "LITCA Events". These included Bar-B-Q's, attendance at a local Minor League Baseball Team's games (Long Island Ducks), visits to toy and real train museums, Hobby shop "hopping" excursions, visits to the 3 large Club layouts in our local area, etc.
Some LITCA members after one of our recent lunches:
Some LITCA members at a July 2022 Long Island Ducks game:
Some LITCA members at the Railroad Museum of Long Island:
The LITCA Events expanded to visits to out of state shows, museums, layouts and hobby shops. Warrenvillerailroad.com was named LITCA's official website and several of these events have been documented, and shared with model train lovers all over, through my Blog entries there. See A Visit to the World's Largest Model Railroad (warrenvillerailroad.com) and A Visit to the World's Largest Model Railroad (warrenvillerailroad.com) for examples of these LITCA Events.
An eight part series on www,Warrenvillerailroad.com ,entitled "Friend's Layouts", highlights the layouts and collections of LITCA members as well as a couple from out of State friends. Check these posts out!
We became the "cool kids". LITCA membership grew to 24 active members. For the fun of it, we created membership cards that we proudly carry.
As most of us are also members of the Train Collectors Association (TCA), early in 2023 we decided to support the National TCA Museum in Strausburg, PA by purchasing a brick on their walkway. It will read "LITCA Honors TCA" and it should be in place by September 2023.
I strongly recommend that you become a member of the TCA if you are not already. Here is a link to their website: Toy Train Collectors | Train Collectors Association (tcatrains.org)
For clarification purposes, the Long Island Train Collecting Aficionados are not affiliated with the TCA.
Most recently we started "LITCA Merchandise". The first endeavor in this direction are baseball style caps emblazoned with our patriotically colored logo and our slogan; "Comraderie Through Trains".
More LITCA Merchandise was added October 2023 - just in time for the fall season:
Recently LITCA'er Andy's talented Grandson Nick used his 3D printer to make billboard card holders for us. I created a unique billboard insert as an option for all LITCA members:
LITCA members at our July 2023 LI Ducks game event. We all wore our LITCA baseball caps.
We even had our name in the red banner on the scoreboard! Check it out in the 2nd picture below.
I hope that this blog post will encourage you to begin your own local club - let us know if you do!