TCA Grading Standards

Condition/Grading Standards

The following Condition and Grading Standards apply to all toy train and related accessory items. The items that are being evaluated may or may not include the original box. Boxes and other paper are subject to a separate set of grading and condition standards. Standards for all toy train and related accessory items apply to the visual appearance of the item and do not consider the operating functionality of the equipment.

The Standards have been expanded with the introduction of a separate designation for restored/refinished items. Restored/
refinished items must continue to be marked as such using the pressure sensitive labels (Identags) available from the TCA. The Association provides these labels through members of the Standards Committee or the National Business Office.

Condition and Grading Standards are subjective, at best, and are intended to act as a guide. It is important and logical that wishful thinking not be allowed to influence the choice of grade.

  • C-10 Mint—Brand New: all original; unused and unblemished.
  • C-9 Factory New—Brand New: all original; unused; may
    evidence factory rubs and the slightest evidence of handling,
    shipping and having been test run at the factory.
  • C-8 Like New—Complete all original: no rust, no missing parts; may show effects of being on display and/or age; may have been run.
  • C-7 Excellent—all original: minute scratches and paint
    nicks; no rust and no missing parts; no distortion of component
  • C-6 Very Good: Minor scratches and paint nicks, minor
    spots of surface rust, free of dents. May have minor parts replaced.
  • C-5 Good—Signs of play wear: scratches and minor paint
    loss. Small dents, minor surface rust. Evidence of heavy use.
  • C-4 Fair: Scratched, moderate paint loss, dented missing
    parts, surface rust. Evidence of heavy use.
  • C-3 Poor—Requires major body repair: Heavily
    scratched, major rust and missing parts. Restoration candidate.
  • C-2 Restoration required.
  • C-1 Junk—parts value only.

Restored / Refinished Items Standards

Restored/refinished toy train and related accessory items must continue to be marked as such using pressure-sensitive labels available from TCA. All replacement parts considered “major component parts” such as an engine frame, boiler or cab that have been used in the restoration of an item must include the required identification marks of the manufacturer.

  • R-5 Professional Grade—Restored in all aspects of finish and detail as when manufactured: Finished in correct type of paint, color, texture and gloss. All wiring exactly matches the original. All trim in correct finish or plating. Virtually identical to the original. No surface imperfections in the metal work. No wear or evidence of use present. Authentic in all aspects.
  • R-4 Very Good—Restored to a general high standard: However, noticeable differences exist particularly with respect to the color, finish, and texture of paint when compared to an original piece.
  • R-3 Good—A restored piece that has signs of play wear
    with minor dents and scratches.
  • R-2 Fair—A non-professional restoration: Color, texture
    and finish clearly different from the original. Other items, such
    as non-authentic wiring are also evident.
  • R-1 Poor—A poorly constructed restoration in all respects: May be a candidate for restoration. Includes dents or rust pitting under the finish.

Paper/Box Grading Standards

  • P-10 MINT-BRAND NEW Complete and all original as
    manufactured and unused.
  • P-9 STORE NEW Complete and all original and unused.
    May have merchant additions such as store stamps, price tags
    et al. Boxes must have inner liner/s, if appropriate.
  • P-8 LIKE NEW Complete and all original. Evidence of light
    use and aging, additional notations since leaving publisher or
    manufacturer. Contents of box may be missing.
  • P-7 EXCELLENT Complete and all original. Handling
    indentations, minute edge wear, small creases.
  • P-6 VERY GOOD Complete and all original. Minor abrasions, creases and/or folds. Small tears, slight color changes,
    minor soiling. Box may have inner liner/s missing.
NOTE: Any paper or box that has been repaired can be graded no higher than P-5.
  • P-5 GOOD Items show substantial wear. Moderate abrasions, creases and/or folds; moderate tears and losses. Moderate color changes, staples may be rusty or replaced. May have been repaired with archival tissue and adhesive.
  • P-4 FAIR Heavy damage but generally legible. May or may
    not have been repaired. Paper may be brittle. Boxes may have
    inner flaps missing.
  • P-3 POOR Incomplete, may be very brittle, significant
    deterioration. Extensive amateur repairs. (Scotch Tape ® or equivalent).
Based on 388 reviews
Dust Monkeys

So far these seam to work well for keeping the dust off the track. Squeaky's had a good price and fair shipping. Would buy from them again.

Great transaction!

The item I wanted was easy to find, shipping was fast and the price was great. Valued seller.

1st time buyer

I was very happy with the ease of purchase, communication and quick shipment. Will be a returning customer.

grandsons 1st train

every thing was so exciting for him to get all set up and he started the train for the 1st time his eyes were on fire

Great locomotive

Just getting back into the hobby after 30 years and I am very impressed how nice these new locomotives run. Very smooth and quiet

cute house. scale seems nice

But mostly I like Squeaky's Trains for great pricing! Thanks Squeaky's!

Just what the doctor ordered

Work, looks as described. Just what I was looking for and needed.

DCC ESU Decoder Tester

Very pleased with my purchase have not had a chance to use it yet. Looking forward to fine tuning and setting up ESU decoders.

Kato curved unitrack

Was very happy that it came right away and was well packaged. It was also priced lower than the other shops and will definitely order again!

Kadee 634 centering spring

They will do the job is why I got them for wheel pickup power

great service

Very well packaged and received timely. Will use for sure again.

Hands On

I ordered two batteries separatly by accident. Thought about about calling to combine them but i never got around to it. Squeaky's combined them anyway, probably saving me shipping cost. Also, after 2 battery fires (batteries not from Squeakys) I now exclusively use MTO battery packs which are somewhat hard to find. Squeaky's tries to keep the MTO batteries in stock and they are knowledgable about them which makes them my exclusive source!

It's installed

Didn't do my homework very well. Was looking for a Loksound 5 with keep alive to use with my prewired Nix decoder buddy in UP 1804 switcher. Removed the decoder buddy and installed this ESU 58921. Wired in the rotary beacon and ditch lights front and back. Everything works great! My only minor gritch is the horn which is pretty anemic. I've ordered the Lokprogrammer so I can change this. No worries. Thanks.

Service is EXCEPTIONAL!!!

Everything always arrives before I expect it!!! Packaging is always great!!! My daughter loves the little treats in every order, by far my favorite online store!!!!!

Awesome Speaker

If you've got room for it in your locomotive, this speaker blows the previous generation out of the water! The bass on this speaker is awesome, and it's really brought my locomotive to life! I highly recommend it.

Kato 1768948 | GE ES44AC GEVO - Standard DC - CSX #5293 (blue, yellow, Boxcar Logo) | N Scale
Joseph S.

Typical KATO quality

Woodland vacuum

It sucks!

Very convenient, especially for locomotives

To keep the pads fairly clean, I put a paper towel over the top of part of the cleaner and use Goo be gone on the paper towel. That puts most of the dirt on the paper towel. On a brass steam engine, the tender has to be on the metal rail and least some of the drive Wheels on the locomotive have to also be on the metal rail, so the wheels have to be cleaned in a couple of passes. For cars, I use the paper towels on a section of spare track rather than getting the pads on the device dirty.

Coupler height

It is simple to use, mine is mounted on a piece of test track at eye level when I’m sitting . Not just height of coupler but does it couple and release. I use a strong magnet , run it under to uncouple

WalthersTrainline 931-1527 | Wide-Vision Caboose - Ready to Run - Norfolk Southern (red, white) | HO Scale

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