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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Best bets for Oct. 3SouthFlorida.com, October 3rd
Toy Train Show: Toy train operating layouts will be featured including a "G" Scale Modular display. A CSX locomotive engineer will discuss Operation Life Saver Programs and provide handouts. The Kids Corner will provide coloring and activity books...Read more
Auto Biography: Westerly man has a passion for Ford Model A'sThe Providence Journal, October 2nd
"They delivered freight from the railroad stations to customers," he said. "Anything dropped [off] by the [trains] and delivered locally." Indeed, Barker should know. He also owns a G-scale model railroad with 100 feet of rolling stock and 1,000 feet...Read more
Father's legacy lives on through family's garden railwayThe Herald Argus, September 18th
Sheryl's father, Samuel Hunter, first began collecting garden or G scale (also known as 1:24 scale where 1/24 of an inch on the model represents one foot on a life-size train) railroad components in 1992. She remembers the joy he received from his...Read more
Working on the railroad: Ottawa couple shares passion for model trainsThe Times (subscription), September 17th
The sets includes boxcars with such Illinois brand names as the Cubs, the Bears and Caterpillar. In model train lingo, Walt said the main train set is G-scale, standard for outdoor exhibits. The layout includes 80 feet of track, a zoo, parks, a gas...Read more
Train enthusiasts on track for annual model train showTemple Daily Telegram, September 15th
The depot is abuzz with activity as members of the railroaders club gather to prepare to welcome as many as 3,000 model train enthusiasts from across the nation to its 33rd annual Temple Model Train Show Sept. 19 and 20 at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic...Read more
For some backyard railroad gardeners, it's full steam aheadMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 6th
Like most garden railroaders they use G-scale (garden scale) trains. The couple, who started their railroad about 13 years ago, patterned it after the narrow gauge railroads in Colorado in the 1940s. They currently have four locomotives, 33 freight...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
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