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

Source: Google News

Model railroad display finishes run at museum
Herald and News, March 26th

A variety of model railroads are operating at the Klamath County Museum through Saturday in a show presented by the Klamath Rails model railroad club, according to a news release. Three types of model trains are on display, including O, HO and G scale...Read more

Model trains a fun hobby
The Garden City Telegram, March 22nd

Brad Nading/TelegramDetails in the displays are important for many model train enthusiasts, such as this one Saturday at the Garden City Train Show, which features working crossing arms and flashing lights at a “street intersection” on a “G”-scale display...Read more

HobbyTown modeling club
The Star Democrat, March 19th

“Ed and some of the other guys talk modeling all the time.” “Ed,” in this case, is Ed Rosemary, the resident railroad authority and repairman, who keeps the trains running on the store's large model railroad setup. The two-level arrangement has tracks...Read more

Museum to host model railroad show
Herald and News, March 19th

“This train show will have an Easter theme, with a lot of springtime decorations added to our layouts,” said Pat Cunningham, organizer of the show. “If families are looking for something do on a day when the weather has not quite warmed up yet, we'd...Read more

Model train open house to be held Saturday
Log Cabin Democrat, March 14th

A tabletop layout with large G-scale trains will also be in action. These larger trains are often used around the base of Christmas trees, and in outdoor garden railroads with natural landscaping, dwarf plants, structures, tunnels, waterfalls and streams...Read more

Model railroaders make tracks to Ogden's Union Station
Standard-Examiner, March 7th

Trains ranging from the tiny N-scale to the massive G-scale are on display at the festival. G is for “garden scale,” and it features tracks and trains large enough to be placed outside in gardens. The Utah Garden Railway Society has about 40 members...Read more

RI train expo offers something for everyone
Quad-Cities Online, March 1st

Mr. Roche's display included many larger electric trains and varied models of HO, O, N, and G scale. Rick Ryan, from north of DeWitt, Iowa, came to the show with his 4-year-old grandson, Will, who's into trains and was mesmerized as he watched them...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