The Wichita Toy Train Club is a 501c3 non-for-profit organization of model train operators and collectors.
WTTC, Inc., dba "The Wichita Toy Train Club" is an organization of collectors and operators for both classic tinplate and current hi-rail trains. Club members are generally oriented toward "O-gauge" (Lionel, MTH, K-Line, Atlas, Williams, Weaver, Marx) and “S-gauge” (American Flyer). Some members are also interested in the larger "G" and smaller "HO" and "N" gauges, but there are other local clubs for the more serious pursuit of these alternatives. WTTC can help put you in contact with them.
WTTC was organized in 1985 in the garage of charter member, Gene Rasler. A more formal structure developed in 1986 with the election of club officers. The club's first major project was the design and building of a 12-foot by 16-foot display layout for the Children's Museum of Wichita, forerunner to Exploration Place.
Other early WTTC projects aside from the "Children's Museum" layout included collaborating with a local HO club to hold the first of many Air Capital Train Shows the first of which in 1987. Prior to that first show, a modular layout standard was procured and Club members began constructing "modules" (small 3-foot by 4-foot tables with standardized tracks) these small modules allowed the cost of the layout to be distributed amongst the club membership. The layout was completed in time for its debut at the 1987 show.
February 19, 2000 the club opened a 1,400 square foot area suite in the Pawnee Plaza Mall named Train-Mania. There WTTC was able to display the previously mentioned "Children's Museum" layout plus about two-thirds of our modular layout (when not in use at local train shows or displays). The Club also held its monthly meetings there, and had room for a small repair bench. In June, 2002 the suite had to be vacated, due to the mall's impending demise, making way for a new Wal-Mart Super Center.
In September 2001, a much larger suite in the lower level of the Twin Lakes Mall at 21st and Amidon became available and was dubbed "Train Mania II". basic improvements to the physical plan slowly began to be made, and Club meetings were switched to the new location. For ten months both suites were simultaneously occupied, but shortly following a farewell party in June, 2002, all layouts, fixtures and supplies were moved to Twin Lakes. Much more spacious, the new clubhouse was still undergoing remodeling, but opened to the public on Nov. 6, 2004. It eventually housed six operating layouts before the facility closed in October 2006 due to a change of Mall management.
In January 2003, WTTC became incorporated, and in July 2003 received its 501c3 status. We celebrated our Twentieth Anniversary in Sept. 2006 with visits from O-Gauge Railroading magazine editor Jim Barrett and the M.T.H. VP of Sales & Marketing, Rich Foster. WTTC and the Taggart Railroad appeared in separate feature articles in the December 2007 issue of OGR.
Currently the WTTC is looking for a new home. Some prospects have arisen but haven’t panned out yet. We continue to run our trains at events around the Wichita area and surrounding towns. We operate modular layouts for our “O” and “S” scale trains and we have also invested in Lionel "O" gauge Fast Track, this is for events that for time or space reasons cannot support the modular layout. Fast Track is a metal track with a plastic gravel road bed that can be assembled and disassembled quickly. We can transport the Fast Track in containers to an event and us tables supplied by the event host.
In 2006 WTTC members who shared an interest in American Flyer S gauge trains set out to build a modular layout. Up until that time a small S gauge table top layout was used to run trains at various train shows and civic events. Although there were a number of S gauge enthusiasts in the club their participation level at events was limited. So in 2006 member Javen Schmucker proposed a plan to build an S gauge modular layout. These S gauge enthusiasts funded the first 10 sections of this modular themselve and to date it has grown to a total of eighteen modules. This S modular layout has become a routine attraction at area train shows and city events.