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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Weekly entertainment calendarMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 4th
Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory: "Attack of the Giant Monsters" Garden Train Show, open daily, (though March 6), G-scale trains and vintage movie monsters in the Show Dome, 524 S. Layton Blvd., (414) 257-5611. Pringle Nature Center: Nature...Read more
It's all about trains at Santa Fe's community ed classAlachua County Today, February 4th
11, is “Model Trains: Gauge, Setup, Care.” This course explores the various gauges and sizes of model trains from G Scale to Z Gauge. Layout, diorama building and model train maintenance will be the areas covered in this two-hour, two-class course...Read more
Thousands Expected Again For Enormous Amherst Railroad Hobby ShowHartford Courant, January 26th
The show, which has taken place for more than 40 years, is one of the nation's largest train shows. It features manufacturers, historical societies, vendors, how-to clinics and more than 50 operating train layouts ranging from tiny N scale to large G...Read more
Free events planned around Indy in Dr. King's memoryWISH-TV, January 18th
It's your last chance to visit Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure, a one-of-a-kind G-scale train experience featuring the Vegas Strip, Mt. Rushmore, Yosemite, the Golden Gate Bridge, Soldiers and Sailors Monument and much more. White River State ...Read more
Final Weekend of NY Botanical Gardens HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW®HamletHub, January 16th
“Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar ...Read more
White River State Park Celebrates MLK, Jr. Day with Free AdmissionsWISH-TV, January 15th
EITELJORG MUSEUM: Last chance to visit Jingle Rails, the Great Western Adventure, a one-of-a-kind G-scale train experience featuring the Vegas Strip, Mt. Rushmore, Yosemite, the Golden Gate Bridge, Soldiers and Sailors Monument and features trains ...Read more
Fairfax County community calendar, Jan. 14-21, 2016Washington Post, January 13th
G Scale train show Hosted by Washington, Virginia and Maryland Garden Railroad Society. 1-4 p.m. Fairfax Station Railroad Museum, 11200 Fairfax Station Rd., Fairfax Station. 703-425-9225. fairfax-station.org. $4, ages 5-15 $2, members and ages 4 and ...Read more
G-Scale Junction keeps train enthusiasts on trackThe Newark Advocate, August 30th
HEATH – Jim Dorenbusch got his first model train when he was 2, and has loved them ever since. Seven years ago, the Pataskala architect decided to turn his hobby into a business. He owns G-Scale Junction, 570 Hebron Road, which specializes in model ...Read more