G scale model trains are the workhorses of garden railways around the world. Running on 1 gauge track, 1:22.5 G scale trains have been around since 1969. That’s when the German company Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk released its new line of brightly colored, highly durable, plastic LGB (for Lehmann Gross Bahn, or "Lehmann Big Train") locomotives and railcars to the world.
Despite its relatively recent association with LGB, garden railways were popularized in England during the earliest years of the 20th century. Precursors to G scale, garden railway trains ran on 1 gauge tracks, although O gauge tracks were also known to loop and circle around British backyards, which generally had more room for this sort of thing than the interiors of most British homes.
Garden railways did not catch on in the U.S. until the 1920s. In 1924, at the Los Angeles Fair, the Fairplex Garden Railroad was erected under a tent. In 1935, the layout moved outdoors where it has remained ever since, the largest and longest running railway of its kind in the world. In 1997, the tracks and trains were swapped out from their original gauge, which was ½-inch to 1-foot or 1:24, to proper G gauge.
Despite this early success and acceptance, garden railways remained a novelty in the U.S. before World War II—American Flyer promoted "Backyard Railroading" in its advertising, but never sold many trains designed for outdoor use. After the war, with the smaller O scale and HO scale trains firmly entrenched among model railroaders, the notion that big trains would ever again gain acceptance must have seemed fanciful. Which is why the introduction of the LGB G scale in 1969 was such a gutsy move.
LGB did not help its cause in the U.S. by initially offering only European trains—there’s probably only so much fun a boy in Iowa is going to have with a model train labeled "Austrian Federal" or "Rhaetian Railway." The new scale did not fare much better in England, where traditions were even more firmly established.
But in 1972, Model Railroader magazine published an article about LGB. From then on, the G scale began its rise in acceptance among an increasing number of model train enthusiasts. Today, LGB makes G scale trains for all the popular U.S. road names—from B&O to Santa Fe—all of which run on brass tracks that are designed to weather the elements.
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Postwar Lionel Trains Library
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
Clubs & Associations
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- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
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Recent News: G Scale Trains
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Torrington Armory is site of model train show this weekend, Dec. 14-15Torrington Register Citizen, December 11th
The Torrington Area Model Railroaders, based on Lewis Street, will present two layouts one in HO scale and one in G scale. Valley N-Trak, a group whose members come throughout the region, will have its N scale layout on display. The layouts that will...Read more
Glimpse the past at model railroad train showOrlando Sentinel, December 11th
The club meets each Saturday morning for a few hours to make plans for its projects throughout the week. "We have just about any size model train — some trains that are only 3/8-inch-high Z-scale all the way up to the eight-inch-high G-scale." ...Read more
One woman oversees an animated testament to Christmas (PHOTOS)The Northwest Florida Daily News, December 10th
“We have steam engines, multi-unit diesels and long trains comprised of 18 to 20 cars each in the large G-scale size,” said Ed Dice from Pensacola, whose collection is on display with others from the Emerald Coast Garden Railway Club. Besides...Read more
Slidell train display and Christmas village better than beforeNOLA.com, December 10th
This summer, the City of Slidell received a large donation of G-scale trains from the Abney family, necessitating the tiered design. G-scale trains are the largest model trains, measuring 12to 24 inches in length, and are often used in outdoor settings...Read more
Sample some wine paired with chocolateOrlando Sentinel, December 9th
Highlights this year will include the club's remodeled N-scale layout with ships docking and departing from the seaport and fishing village, two Z-scale train layouts, a Lionel train layout and a massive G-scale layout. Admission is a donation of a...Read more
Christmas season chugs into Sun City WestYourWestValley.com, December 8th
The club's new Garden (G-scale) outdoor railroad is also up and running from 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays at Beardsley Park and when there are special rec center events at the park, such as Holiday in the Park on Dec 20. The G-scale layout will continue to be ...Read more
Seven Holiday Day Trips to NYC Worth TakingHamletHub, December 8th
A model-G scale train winding its way through a Hudson Valley landscape is new this year. Make a day of it by visiting the Everett Children's Adventure Garden. Kids can visit a series of interactive "train stops" that includes an artist's station, an...Read more
Train lovers gear up for Garden Christmas Open House and TourEast Valley Tribune, December 1st
Sirrine said his interest in trains began as a young boy. “I was 3 years old when I got my first train, and I've been addicted to trains ever since,” Sirrine said. He started with the G-scale trains in 1982 and said he adds to his backyard layout each...Read more