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
- National Model Railroad Association
- Lionel Collectors Club of America
- Toy Train Operating Society
- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
- Train Collectors Society (U.K.)
- Lionel Operating Train Society
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Recent News: G Scale Trains
Source: Google News
Model railroad display finishes run at museumHerald and News, March 26th
A variety of model railroads are operating at the Klamath County Museum through Saturday in a show presented by the Klamath Rails model railroad club, according to a news release. Three types of model trains are on display, including O, HO and G scale...Read more
Arc expression identifies the lateral amygdala fear memory traceNature.com, March 24th
Correspondence: Professor SA Kushner, Department of Psychiatry, Erasmus University Medical Center, Dr Molewaterplein 50, Ee-1442, Rotterdam, 3015 GE, The Netherlands. E-mail: email@example.com. 6Present address: Aix Marseille Université ...Read more
Model trains a fun hobbyThe Garden City Telegram, March 22nd
Brad Nading/TelegramDetails in the displays are important for many model train enthusiasts, such as this one Saturday at the Garden City Train Show, which features working crossing arms and flashing lights at a “street intersection” on a “G”-scale display...Read more
HobbyTown modeling clubThe Star Democrat, March 19th
“Ed and some of the other guys talk modeling all the time.” “Ed,” in this case, is Ed Rosemary, the resident railroad authority and repairman, who keeps the trains running on the store's large model railroad setup. The two-level arrangement has tracks...Read more
Museum to host model railroad showHerald and News, March 19th
“This train show will have an Easter theme, with a lot of springtime decorations added to our layouts,” said Pat Cunningham, organizer of the show. “If families are looking for something do on a day when the weather has not quite warmed up yet, we'd...Read more
Model train open house to be held SaturdayLog Cabin Democrat, March 14th
A tabletop layout with large G-scale trains will also be in action. These larger trains are often used around the base of Christmas trees, and in outdoor garden railroads with natural landscaping, dwarf plants, structures, tunnels, waterfalls and streams...Read more
Model railroaders make tracks to Ogden's Union StationStandard-Examiner, March 7th
Trains ranging from the tiny N-scale to the massive G-scale are on display at the festival. G is for “garden scale,” and it features tracks and trains large enough to be placed outside in gardens. The Utah Garden Railway Society has about 40 members...Read more
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