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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Christmas on the Coast Dec. 17
Destin Log, December 16th

The 19th Annual Niceville Christmas Display “Animation in Motion” features more than 600 animated dolls and is the largest Christmas Village in town with more than 1,000 pieces, and N-scale, H.O.-scale, O-scale and G-scale model trains. View the...Read more

Old train stations on display during show in Torrington
Torrington Register Citizen, December 14th

The 14th annual train show was presented by local model train club Torrington Area Model Railroaders, who exhibited two modular layouts – one in HO-scale (which measures a railroad set engine at 1.97 inches), the other in G-scale, which is the largest ...Read more

Event briefs: Retirees to learn about Alzheimer's disease
Kenosha News, December 13th

BURLINGTON — The Kenosha Garden Railroad Society's Christmas trains display continues through Dec. 21 at the Burlington Garden Center, 5205 Mormon Road, Burlington. The G-scale railroad features two Christmas engines pulling up to 16 holiday cars ...Read more

Holiday homes of the Bay Area
SFGate (blog), December 12th

352 Hillcrest Ave Livermore, Alameda County, 94550 - This house, know as Deacon Dave's house, is as close to a must see in the Bay Area. The display has been entertaining crowds for 32 years and probably contains the largest display in the Bay Area ...Read more

Christmas tradition to come alive at Center Bethel Church of God
Tribune-Review, December 10th

The display will feature “G” scale train sets on loan from Brian Corcoran of Vintage Costumes. “We're going to have the train set up in the center of the room so people can walk around it and see it from all angles,” Kline said, adding the display will...Read more

Model train show set for this weekend at Torrington Armory
Torrington Register Citizen, December 10th

The Torrington Area Model Railroaders, based on Lewis Street, will present two layouts – one in HO scale and one in G scale. Valley N-Trak, a group whose members come throughout the region, will have its N scale layout on display, organizers said in a ...Read more

Ride the rails in December and January at model railroad open house
FlipSidePA, December 6th

Club members have built layouts that feature G-scale trains with a 14 foot truss bridge, also built by a club member. With both pre-war and post-war equipment on display, the standard-gauge layout has 176 feet of track. Running nearby is 735 feet, or 6...Read more

All aboard! 'Polar Express' model train to ride rails soon
Orlando Sentinel, December 3rd

Highlights include an overhead dual tracks of Lionel trains, background panels featuring the four seasons painted by resident artist Dan Cruise, modular N-scale layout, three-eighths-inch-high Z-scale to 8-inch-high G-scale trains and more. All of the...Read more