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About Our Club

The fun hobby of collecting and operating Lionel model toy trains finds new enthusiasts every day. Perhaps you are visiting this website for the first time as a “newbie.”

Holiday model toy trains

The holiday train layout at the home of LCCA member Ken Morgan includes “O” and “Standard O” vintage trains.

Lionel Model Toy Train Collectors

Members of the Lionel Collectors Club of America are folks from all walks of life who love to operate or collect model toy trains from all eras. For many, that joy in model railroading began in childhood when Lionel electric hobby train sets were the toy of choice, and Lionel was one of the most recognized trademarks in the world. Many club members still vividly recall a childhood memory of that special Christmas when Santa (with some help from dad and mom) placed a Lionel train set under the holiday tree.

Home train set layout

A scene from the “high rail” home layout of LCCA member Jim Richardson

Train Hobbyists

LCCA members are hobbyists who actively seek and find Lionel model toy trains and operate or display them at home or in the office. Many members create fascinating train layouts that take advantage of today’s exciting technological advances. Thanks to digitally reproduced sounds and modern control systems, many of today’s hobby train sets sound like the actual prototype locomotives.

Some LCCA members enjoy other train-related pursuits: railroad history, period architecture and historic preservation; or a yearning to ride real trains aboard Amtrak or tourist excursion railways. Some are loyal to a favorite railroad, the line that served their hometown, for example, so they collect Lionel model trains exclusively of that railroad. Others are focused on a certain era of railroading—Old Time Railroads, the Steam Era, Electrified Trains, First Generation Diesels or the Modern Era—and as craftsmen they plan their model train layout appropriate to the specific technology of that era.

Mandy Patinkin with his model toy trains

Mandy Patinkin with his Lionel model toy trains.

Celebrity Collectors

Did you know there are many celebrities who have train collections? Actor/singer Mandy Patinkin and singer/songwriter Neil Young are Lionel train collectors/operators. Frank Sinatra built a special building on his Palm Springs, CA, compound to house his operating 1949 train station layout. The now-famous steam train circling the grounds of Disney’s Magic Kingdom near Orlando, FL, was inspired by Ward Kimball, a Disney designer and artist.

Mountain-themed hobby train sets

The mountain locale of the layout of LCCA member Terry Johnson.

Why Lionel Model Toy Trains?

“Lionel” is part of the club name because members favor the hobby train sets made by the Lionel Company begun in 1900 by Joshua Lionel Cowen. The Lionel model railroad brand is still produced by Lionel LLC, and it remains a leader in the toy train manufacturing industry. Lionel has produced quality model toy trains for more than a century, and the legend lives on.

We love trains and love sharing our interest in the hobby with others, especially today’s families. Many kids have never seen a model steam locomotive because they missed the golden age of model railroading. Model toy trains hold a fascination for today’s children as they have for generations. Our annual Lionel model train conventions always include large operating displays open to the public free of charge. Visit LCCA membership benefits for club advantages and membership exclusives.

Click here for the LCCA membership application or fill out a gift membership application and join others who share your love for Lionel hobby train sets.