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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Airfix Model Railways
Postwar Lionel Trains Library
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
Clubs & Associations
- Train Collectors Association
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- Lionel Collectors Club of America
- Toy Train Operating Society
- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
- Train Collectors Society (U.K.)
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Recent News: G Scale Trains
Source: Google News
RI train expo offers something for everyoneQuad-Cities Online, March 1st
Mr. Roche's display included many larger electric trains and varied models of HO, O, N, and G scale. Rick Ryan, from north of DeWitt, Iowa, came to the show with his 4-year-old grandson, Will, who's into trains and was mesmerized as he watched them...Read more
Little trains draw big interestNew Bern Sun Journal, February 21st
“It's a bigger building, more lighting, and a better facility,” Joe Hofmann, trains show chairman, said of the new place. Among the displays: N- and HO-scale miniature trains, a large G-scale garden layout and a Lego train. The garden layout, which was...Read more
Model steam trains take to the rails in WinstedTorrington Register Citizen, February 21st
The steam trains looked just like the real thing only reduced down to a size called G-scale. The trains have a butane tank that gets the boiler heated. The boiler jet heats up and builds the water and turns it into steam. A valve controls the steam...Read more
Train show transports model railroadersU-T San Diego, February 15th
While some of the displays are for viewing only, Oceanside resident Ron Allen constructed a battery-operated version of a G-scale trail that kids can operate themselves. “At this show, the kids want to touch and feel,” Allen said. “It's not enough to...Read more
Go Knoxville's fun things to doKnoxville News Sentinel, February 15th
The imaginative, detailed G scale train system by Mark Fuhrman Landscaping is a perennial delight for House & Garden Show guests. Jeremiah Harris. Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, ...Read more
Electric City Trolley Museum hosts train displayWilkes Barre Times-Leader, February 14th
About 50 steam engines and over 100 rail cars of all types were on display. Some of them valued at over $25,000, according to Clem O'Jevich, a member from the Nanticoke-based Warrior Run Loco Works. The larger “g scale” trains are used commonly in ...Read more
NC Arboretum in Asheville sees record-high visitationAsheville Citizen-Times, February 13th
Rocky Cove Railroad, a model train exhibit developed as part of Winter Lights, was so well received that the arboretum extended its operating hours into the spring. The G-scale (garden scale) trains, including a Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive, can...Read more
18th annual Rails in the Rockies this weekendEstes Park Trail-Gazette, February 11th
Other displays include: American Flyer Interactive Layout; Colorado Wyoming LEGO@ User Group (CoWLUG) layout (this year with a surprise theme) a circus train exhibit; and, Slim Rails Layout from Colorado Springs. There will be multiple layouts in...Read more