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

15 Ways to Rock the L.A. County Fair
LA Magazine, August 28th

You can't actually take a ride on the G-scale Fairplex Garden Railroad, which comes complete with a miniatureRandy's Donuts, but you can watch the tiny train run 10,000 square feet of track. Lift Your Glass Want to sip like a pro? Pop into the Wine...Read more

Garden railroad hosts annual Relay for Life fundraiser
Cecil Whig, August 28th

D&M Railroad, owed by couple Martha and Don Lebo, is a garden railroad that winds its way through the backyard of the Lebos' Elkton home. The garden railroad features five tracks that run through the countryside, small towns and the coal mine. Visitors...Read more

Train Days returns to Los Altos: Museum highlights model railroading
Los Altos Town Crier, August 27th

Participants include the Live Steamers from the Bay Area Garden Railway Society (G scale); the Diablo Pacific Short Line (G scale); the Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club (O scale); a private collector's Swiss Narrow Gauge (HO scale); Peninsula NTrak and ...Read more

Train club to hold Wm. Crooks Day event Aug. 30th
Northland Press, August 25th

The William Crooks Locomotive was the first locomotive to operate in the state of Minnesota. It was built between 1861 and 1865, and it first provided service a year later in 1862 for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, a rail line that eventually...Read more

Model display: Little trains, big attraction
Salisbury Post, August 23rd

There's a “wide gamut” of merchandise, according to Leah Cook, a staff member at the museum who helped organize the train show. Vendors carried model train and layout pieces in all sizes — Z, N, HO, O and G scale. “The model boats are one of the most ...Read more

Train club holds open house in Warren
WKBN.com, August 22nd

Membership is open to people who love trains. “Anyone. You don't have to have a G-scale train. Many of our members do not have their own layout or their own trains and this kind of fills in for those just interested in railroading,” Riverside Railroad...Read more

Model train exhibit and free workshop at Mesa Library
East Valley Tribune, August 12th

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

Garden Railroad Training
Weekly Alibi, August 6th

Garden Railroad Volunteers Garden Railroad Volunteers operate and maintain the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden's G-scale model trains and exhibit while talking to the public about the various trains in operation. No admission is required - when you arrive...Read more