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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Events Listings: Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, 2015
The Weekender, January 27th

Jim Thorpe Winterfest, with train rides, ice carving demonstrations, wood carving by Masters of the Chainsaw, free Kids Shows with Al Grout, Mug Walk, horse-drawn carriage rides (weather permitting) and special deals at dining and shopping establishments...Read more

Amherst Train Show Pulling Into Eastern States Expo
Hartford Courant, January 20th

Thousands of model train enthusiasts from across the country and Canada will converge on the Eastern States Exposition grounds in West Springfield for the annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show on Saturday and Sunday, Jan 24 and 25...Read more

Trains keep a rollin' for this weekend's Railroad Hobby Show
MassLive.com, January 19th

He noted this year's show will feature over 50 operating layouts to mesmerize visitors of all ages, including the tiniest Z-scale model layouts, which fits on a top of a coffee table, to larger G-scale trains usually operated outdoors in a garden, for...Read more

Model Train Open House
Frederick News Post (subscription), January 3rd

Frederick County Society of Model Engineer, HO and G scale model trains, Sunday January 4, 11, 18, 25 and Feb 1, 2015 from 1pm to 4pm. Locations is 423 East Patrick Str, Frederick, MD. Contact Info. cost. Model Train Open House is a free event. details...Read more

What is it like to live in Malden?
Boston Globe, January 3rd

Number of model train-related items in stock--from N scale to G scale and scenery and accessories--at Charles Ro Supply Co., America's largest Lionel train dealer. In business for 42 years, Charles Ro was voted one of the “coolest toy stores in the...Read more

5 With Appeal, Jan. 2
BlueRidgeNow.com, January 2nd

The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Train Depot, 650 Maple St., Hendersonville. The new G scale train will be running, weather permitting. The new G scale layout is behind the...Read more

QA's and YMCA agree to new deal
My Eastern Shore, December 31st

The annual model train show is sponsored by the Queen Anne's Museum of Eastern Shore Life, the Queen Anne's Railroad Society and the National Capital Trackers. Virtually all scales of model trains from the tiny Z scale to the large G scale were operating...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