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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Recent News: G Scale Trains

Source: Google News

Model train exhibit and free workshop at Mesa Library
East Valley Tribune, July 24th

Train enthusiasts will experience more than 300 feet of G-scale tracks with double main lines, garden size trains (1.5 to 2 times the size of O-scale Lionel trains), and dioramas with scenes from Arizona rail towns. ABTO members will be on hand to...Read more

Backyard transformed into railroad village
Spencer Daily Reporter, July 21st

Officially the G in g-scale stands for the German word for big, which is "gross," but due to their durability and the use of the train models, the G has been interpreted to stand for garden scale train. For Peterson's railroad, the name garden scale...Read more

Volunteers give Catonsville Short Line Railroad a boost
WBAL Baltimore, July 18th

His colleagues said it's a fitting tribute because he loved trains. "When we traveled for business we always go to a lot of historic railroads. We went up Pikes Peak together. He was a big model railroader. He runs the G-scale trains -- these are the...Read more

Evansville couple's garden train display in full bloom
Gazettextra, July 14th

About 40 buildings and dozens of tiny people create scenes around more than 300 feet of 2-inch-wide G-scale track weaved among colorful perennials in full bloom. “My god, what have I done,” Steve joked as he looked over the display. “OMG, OMG. It's fun...Read more

'Railroad Days' Event to be Held at Historic Cold Spring
Cape May County Herald (press release), July 14th

On display in the Welcome Center will be the Strasburg Model Railroad Club's display of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines HO scale layout. Near the Ice Cream Parlor, guests can see the South Jersey Garden Railroad Society's G-scale railroad, ...Read more

Pike Lake State Park Railroad Rendezvous to be held Saturday
Hillsboro Times Gazette, July 14th

Trucks, tractors and trains, what little kid or grandpa could resist? There will be displays of railroad memorabilia, photos, and old timers with memories to share. Model train displays in HO, N, O and G Scale will be operational during the event. This...Read more

Crosslake Model Train Club Ready for Summer Visitors
Northland Press, July 7th

Looking for a fun activity? Come to the Northern Trackers model railroad club and see the trains and layouts. We have memberoperators wearing badges around their necks to answer railroading questions you might have. Our HO historical layout is so ...Read more

All aboard: G-scale train, memory garden featured on annual historical society ...
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, July 7th

Rolling stock on the G-scale tracks includes a locomotive with a battery-pack, a coal car and an orange rail car. Tracks are laid through the garden, passing alongside rocks and plants and over trussed bridges. “This train is intended for outdoor use...Read more