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, 2015The 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 ExpoHartford 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 ShowMassLive.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 HouseFrederick News Post (subscription), January 4th
Visit website; Repeats every week on Sunday until Sunday, February 01, 2015 starting at 1:00 PM and ending at 4:00 PM EST. Details Contact. Frederick County Society of Model Engineers, HO and G scale model trains, Sundays through Feb 1. Contact Info...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
Backyard transformed into railroad villagePilot Tribune, July 18th
Officially the G in g-scale stands for the German word for big which is Gross, but due to their durability and the use of the train models the G has been interpreted to stand for garden scale train. For Peterson's railroad, the name garden scale...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
G-scale garden trains chug along for holidaysArizona Republic, November 29th
G-scale railroad layouts will be running at 13 homes in the East Valley and in Phoenix, and at Cardon Children's Medical Center in Mesa. Primary hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m. on the weekends of Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15. Some homes also will be open Fridays, ...Read more