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"Comraderie Through Trains" The Formation of a Local Club

Updated: 5 days ago

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 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. See "A visit to the World's Largest Mosel Railroad" and "A Visit to LTI's Showroom Layout at the Railroad Museum of Long Island" as examples of these LITCA Events.


More local LITCA Events are shared on the site in eight blog entries beginning with the words "Friend's Layouts", These highlight 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 26 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 reads "LITCA Honors TCA" and is in place not far from the entrance door.

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, LITCA, the Long Island Train Collecting Aficionados are not affiliated with the TCA.


While on the subject of great national toy train clubs to join and participate with you may want to consider joining the Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS) HOME - Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS) (lots-trains.org) . Their magazine, SWITCHER, alone is worth the price of admission.


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.


A more personal part of the club is something that we call the "LITCA Lifeline" - helping members out. As an example, a member recently had health issues and we took him to doctor's appointments, the bank and food shopping.


I hope that this blog post will encourage you to begin your own local club - let us know if you do!



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Draco A
Draco A
03 jun 2023

Very fancy logo. Whoever did it did an amazing job

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lionelski
03 jun 2023
Contestando a

Yes, it was designed by my very creative daughter after receiving only a pencil scribble idea from me.

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