For this electronic magazine to succeed, we need the vitality of our members to be reflected in it! With members doing so much fine work collecting, operating, planning, and restoring their trains, as well as traveling to train locations, there are lots of great stories to be told.
We're looking for material that will help fellow hobbyists and collectors. Some examples include:
Reviews of books, catalogs, products.
How-to explanations that demonstrate skills that will assist other members.
Special topics, such as a particular manufacturer or a gauge.
Places you have visited, with a toy train flavor.
Historical information about TCA or toy train developments.
TCA also offers other venues for expression and commerce. For instance, if you want to chat about topics of concern, use the Toy Train Mailing List (our Yahoo members group); if you want to buy or sell, our TCA x-change. If you prefer the printed medium, our Train Collectors Quarterly magazine welcomes material.
You don't have to be a trained writer to participate. We can edit your story, so let us know if you have thoughts for a story. A typical article is sent to us in Word, with a series of well composed photos attached. We'll polish off the wording, find the right place for the pictures, and you can join the ranks of TCAers who have shared their accomplishments with others.
How Contributors have helped
Joel Fugazzotto, seen above on one of his travels, is a typical contributor, having written articles about Lionel VAT cars, Ore cars, and station smoke stacks.
Another contribution variation is Angelo Lautazi, who in the critical early days of e*Train jumped in to fill the void as webmaster, a role which he most capably filled for a number of years. In addition to being a very active TCAer, he has contributed his own material on topics such as a Switchmaster Railcar Mover and Christmas pictures.
Clem Clement has been a mainstay of both TCA and e*Train for a number of years. Some know him as the former President of the Eastern Division and of TCA. Many know him for his lengthy Clem's Primer, which appears in e*Train prior to each York Meet, providing a wealth of detailed information about this major event. He has also written other articles such as on Cleaning Trains.
And Leon Sweet is the author who specializes in American Flyer, with a keen eye to detail and an eagerness in researching.
Each of these people brought energy and perspective to our hobby without being trained authors. As we said, we can help out with the editing.
The list could be much longer, but such members have helped e*Train and their fellow members as well. You can too!
Thanks for the words of long-time contributor Mike Stella:
I know there are lots of stories waiting to be shared.
Over the four plus decades that I have been a "born again" Lionel collector and operator of "Lionel Lines" (The Largest Lionel Railroad on my Block) I have penned many a tale for magazines and seven different club publications. I write because I like to write. I like to share what forty years of collecting has taught me. I like to talk about the friends I've made a few of the real characters (nicest thing I can say in print) I've met. I do not hide the silly mistakes I've made and like to share a laugh or two especially when it is on me.
I've tried to get a few members to write about their interests and even have had a few do it. Nobody knows everything (except me) and I like to read about new things and learn things I never knew before.
Way too many toy train collectors and operators think they have nothing of interest to tell. How wrong they are. Back in 1974 while attending my first "big" train meet in the San Francisco area I met a young man who told me he only collected Lionel that had the NYC road name. He then asked if I knew that there were 162 different NYC gondolas? I'm still looking! I only recently added a #3461 operating log car with RUBBER STAMPING to my collection and there are a few only things I keep an eye out for.
"My Favorite Character" always makes interesting reading. Vacations to ride real steam presented with lots of pictures are great. I know there are lots of stories waiting to be shared. I once rented a GE Steeplecab in Yakima, Washington and when took it over the entire line.
Do you have a story? Share it! I look forward to the upcoming issues of e*train to be filled with new writers and terrific stories. I may even send in one or 100.