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How to Use the National Toy Train Library

By Jan Athey, TCA Librarian                              Summer 2016

This article has been replaced by this one to reflect later conditions.

If you want to discover a fantastic resource for information on toy trains be sure to visit the National Toy Train Library (NTTL). The NTTL is very accessible to everyone whether you live nearby or a far distance from our physical location at the TCA National Headquarters in Strasburg, PA. Outlined below are the ways members and the public can reach us so that we can put our skills to work for you.


How to Access the Library’s Online Database, PastPerfect

PastPerfect is the online catalog which lists the contents of the Library collection. This program is a work in progress and is currently extensive enough to be very useful. PastPerfect lists a representative sampling of the Library’s contents.

Here is how to use it:
1) Go to the TCA gateway website:
2) Click on the tab “Museum, Library, Store”, at the top center of the screen
3) Click on bottom tab, “ Online Library Catalog”
4) Select one of the search options, “Click & Search,” “Keyword Search,” “Advanced Search,” and “Random Image”
5) Use these tools to explore the contents of the Library
6) Contact Jan Athey, the librarian, for further information on items of interest

More working.

Basic Research Requests

The NTTL offers members and non-members ½ hour of free research time. Most requests fall into this category. Do you need a wiring diagram for a Lionel locomotive? Would you like information on how to sell a train collection? Are you looking for the contents of a particular set box?

Most of these questions can be answered in a matter of minutes. Should you need something copied you are charged $.25 for each photocopy, plus postage.

Lionel document.

Major Research Projects

The Library also assists researchers with long-term, in-depth projects. Our collection contains many one-of-a-kind items and original source material which makes it a great resource for authors, teachers, companies, television and radio producers, journalists and more.

Are you researching information for a book about an obscure toy train company? Do you want to author an article for the Train Collectors Quarterly or the e*Train? Are you giving a presentation on toy train history to your local train club? We can provide you with research assistance and information which will help to make your project a success.

The Library charges a very reasonable fee to TCA members of $15.00 per hour (non-members - $35.00 per hour) for professional research services. Contact Jan Athey, Librarian, and/or Ron Morris, Library Committee Chair, at: 717-687-8624, E-mail: and address: PO Box 248, Strasburg, PA 17579.

We welcome your inquiries!

Second Decade.
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