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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Postwar Lionel Trains Library
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
Clubs & Associations
- Train Collectors Association
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- Lionel Collectors Club of America
- Toy Train Operating Society
- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
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Recent News: G Scale Trains
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Featured event: D&M Garden RailroadCecil Whig, September 2nd
Come enjoy some fun family time, see the trains run, enjoy a snack and help the Cancer Resource Center. The railroad is located at 2618 Blue Ball Road in Elkton. For directions or more information, call 410-398-0188. Suggest to have your event featured...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
The Gold and Silver Mine: A treasure hoard of stories about accumulated ...Shore News Today, August 30th
I was asked to look at a train collection which ended up being a group of G scale trains that had been an operating layout that was haphazardly dismantled and was in a pile. Told the owner that it involved too much work for no profit and I wasn't...Read more
Small aboard! Tiny trains to roll in AmesDesMoinesRegister.com, August 16th
Two-hundred-fifty feet of G-scale track — that's “G” for garden — will form three looped tracks with three separate trains: one overhead and two on the ground, including a replica of the old Dinkey train that used to link the university campus to...Read more
Transportation fun draws families to botanical centerQuad City Times, August 16th
Among the attractions was a fire engine, and another was the outdoor garden train with 650 feet of tracks. Dale Frels of Barstow, a member of Heartland Central Railway, is among the volunteers who put together the G-scale, or 1:24 scale, train layout...Read more
Trains and all things trains dominate railroad festivalTopeka Capital Journal, August 15th
Clearly the overriding theme of the 8th annual Topeka Railroad Festival on Saturday was trains and everything to do with trains. Activities focused on railroads during the one-day event — from the HO, N and G scale trains to the static display of a...Read more
Historic Railpark hosts train showBowling Green Daily News, August 13th
“There will be N gauge, O gauge, G gauge. N gauge is really small and G scale is garden-size stuff you can put outside,” she said. “They'll have new and used stuff. There will be bargain bins where you can buy trains from less than a dollar to...Read more
Hobby Weekend can be very educationalNew Jersey Herald, August 9th
Lee Thomas, of Wantage, and Glenn Habrial, of Blairstown, said they have been bringing their G-scale -- meaning they are designed for outdoor use in a garden -- steam model trains to the fair for the last eight years and the main question they get...Read more