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TTML masthead.

A brief history of TTML

By Dr. Joseph Lechner, 01-52673

The date of Tuesday, November 5, 1996 is memorable for at least two reasons.  In our national election, William Jefferson Clinton was re-elected president of the United States with 49.2% of the popular vote.  On the toy train scene, Ron Morris (HR-70-3178) launched an internet discussion group which he named the Toy Trains Mailing List.

TTML has been going strong now for seventeen years.  Its mission, then and now, is "to provide a platform where enthusiasts, both TCA members and the public, can discuss, inquire, and share knowledge about the collecting, operation and history of toy trains".

Anyone may participate, regardless of his or her club affiliation.  This is important, because a number of hobbyists have become acquainted with the Train Collectors Association through TTML, and then decided to join the club.  I know this because I am one of them.

TTML has been a mainstay of positive, sound train information for seventeen years, standing proudly alongside Train Collectors Quarterly, e-Train, and National Headquarters News, to mention several TCA productions.

Doing a search for "TTML" on this site shows how much it has helped members and been intertwined with TCA's progress. The hard work by volunteers is a hallmark of what makes TCA membership so wonderful.

We are proud to publish this article in salute to a fine TCA service.

-- Bob Mintz, Editor

TTML's web page depicts a Budd RDC-4 Railway Post Office car, pulling into a small-town station near you, ready to deliver its content of train-related messages and pictures.

Part of the fun of TTML is meeting people in-person with whom you've chatted online.  Paul Edgar (95-41742) has hosted a gathering at each national TCA convention since the list began.  TTMLers used to meet informally for breakfast on the Friday morning of York meets.  Clem Clement's pre-York talks on these occasions are legendary.

Over the years, I've found that one can post a question on any conceivable train-related topic, real or toy, and someone in the group will know the answer.  I am continually learning more about this hobby from the expertise of fellow TTMLers.  Many members have told me how they enjoy starting their morning with the daily railroad history lesson.  Our conversations are educational, but they're also fun.  Things get particularly interesting shortly after 12:01 a.m. on April 1, when noted correspondents such as Sofia P. Roll and Fill S. Oparo post their annual reports.  Five years ago, Mr. Oparo tried to convince us that a Mr. J. Henry Miller, of Tunnel Hill Road near Cooks Springs, Alabama, was offering unsold Lionel outfits from 1957 at closeout prices.

TTML has been hosted by three different "networks" during its existence.  It began on in 1996.  It migrated to in June 1999.  A year or so after that, became part of Yahoo! with no interruption of service.  During the past seventeen years, over 138,400 messages have been posted.  Dan Pfeffer (95-41985) has archived them all on his site.

Our train hit some rough track in September 2013 when Yahoo! abruptly changed its software and web format.  Most of the bugs have since been worked out, and TTML is running smoothly once more.  Come join us!

Anyone may join TTML by browsing to or by sending an e-mail to

A Yahoo! username and password are required for website access, but not for e-mail participation.  Web users have access to additional features, such as uploading / downloading photographs, that aren't available via e-mail access.

This is a good opportunity to acknowledge several TCA members who have contributed to the success of Toy Trains Mailing List, including Internet Committee chairpersons Michael Frieders, Gordon Wilson, Frank Samaritano, Katie Elgar and most recently Stu Rankin; moderators Ron Morris, Bob LeBras, Paul Olekson, Stu Rankin, Barb Jones and yours truly; Clem Clement, Paul Edgar, Dan Pfeffer, and TCA's operations manager John Luppino.

Second Decade.
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