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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Manitowoc railroad club offers new displayHerald Times Reporter, April 27th
Clipper City Model Railroad Club members couldn't get sidetracked before their upcoming open house. The family of the late John and Ruth Westberg recently donated a G-scale model train and all the accessories to the Manitowoc club. While donations to ...Read more
Model train tours to make stops in Ligonier, Latrobe, GreensburgTribune-Review, April 25th
Most of Sheats' train sets are at “O” scale, in which 1 inch equals 4 feet. Other hobbyists on the tour have either tiny “N” scale sets or larger “G” scale trains that are suited for running outside in a garden setting,. Chuck Kapalka, who is joining...Read more
Railroad SwapThe Livingston Enterprise, April 25th
Livingston Model Railroad Club member Robert Bryan, of Big Timber, watches a G scale model train chug by at the Livingston Depot's annual Model Railroad Show and Swap Meet, Saturday afternoon. Depending on the size of the model train, an engine and ...Read more
New exhibit at wind museum celebrates industry's railroad partnershipLubbockOnline.com, April 13th
The 10 or so trains include those designed for freight and passengers, along with a Barnum and Bailey circus-themed train and a Thomas the Train. At G-scale size, they're a bit larger than your typical Christmas village train set. The system contains a ...Read more
You want what? The homebuyers' wish listOCRegister, April 9th
There's usually a short list of requirements that most buyers have in mind when they hit the home searching trail. Of course, the numbers are always a part of the short list. The number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, number of square feet, number of ...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
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
Dave Zwanziger's G-scale train rounds a planting in his garden, featured on ...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