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

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Calendar: Lyman Orchards sunflower maze, Branford Peach & Chowder Fest
New Haven Register, August 14th

Stratford: Boothe Memorial Train Society free open house, Saturdays Aug. 9-23, Boothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main St. Four operating layouts from N, HO, O and G scale on display, http://bmrailways.com. West Haven: Car, motorcycle show benefits Fisher ...Read more

Model train exhibit and free workshop at Mesa Library
East Valley Tribune, August 11th

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

Calendar: YappyHour at Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven Aug. 15
New Haven Register, August 9th

IN SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES: At 5:30 p.m. Aug. 14 in the New Haven Free Public Library, New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema presents two films by award-winning Peruvian filmmaker Felipe DeGregori: 5:30 p.m., “The Peruvian ...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

Free model train exhibit features 'how to start your collection' workshop
AZFamily, July 30th

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

Railroad Rendezvous set for today at Southern Museum of Civil War and ...
Marietta Daily Journal, July 25th

Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization offering safety information and tours of its Operation Lifesaver Mobile Educational Exhibit; outdoor games, sack races, a ring toss and a bean bag toss; slot car track; and displays of G-scale and O-gauge model...Read more

Make tracks to Historic Cold Spring Village for Railroad Days
Shore News Today, July 24th

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

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

"I still have my original collection and my other HO model train set at property that I still own in Alta," Peterson said. "From there I started to move on to the bigger stuff and eventually made the jump from HO scale to G scale trains." The scale of...Read more