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

Longwood Gardens Presents Autumn's Colors
Daily Local News, September 12th

The Garden Railway opens September 6 and features an enchanting display of G-scale model trains. This custom model train traverses bridges, tunnels, and water features. This is the 14th year the Railway has delighted guests and is now in a new location...Read more

Big Texas Train Show exhibits historical models in Houston
Your Houston News, September 11th

Local NRHS members put on this year's Big Texas Train Show to raise awareness for a new Texas Railroading Heritage Museum to be established in the City of Tomball near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline by 2016. The society's former location ...Read more

Choo Choo!
Your Houston News, September 10th

Local NRHS members put on this year's Big Texas Train Show to raise awareness for a new Texas Railroading Heritage Museum to be established in the City of Tomball near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline by 2016. The society's former location ...Read more

Restored Union Station Just One of Many Railroad Attractions in The Mile High ...
SYS-CON Media (press release), September 9th

There are more than 50 narrow and standard gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock, as well as one of Colorado's largest indoor HO model railroads, and largest G-scale outdoor garden railroads. The museum has the definitive Railroad Book Store ...Read more

Garden railroad hosts annual Relay for Life fundraiser
Cecil Whig, August 28th

D&M Railroad, owed by couple Martha and Don Lebo, is a garden railroad that winds its way through the backyard of the Lebos' Elkton home. The garden railroad features five tracks that run through the countryside, small towns and the coal mine. Visitors...Read more

Train Days returns to Los Altos: Museum highlights model railroading
Los Altos Town Crier, August 27th

Participants include the Live Steamers from the Bay Area Garden Railway Society (G scale); the Diablo Pacific Short Line (G scale); the Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club (O scale); a private collector's Swiss Narrow Gauge (HO scale); Peninsula NTrak and ...Read more

Train club to hold Wm. Crooks Day event Aug. 30th
Northland Press, August 25th

The William Crooks Locomotive was the first locomotive to operate in the state of Minnesota. It was built between 1861 and 1865, and it first provided service a year later in 1862 for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, a rail line that eventually...Read more

Train club holds open house in Warren
WKBN.com, August 22nd

Membership is open to people who love trains. “Anyone. You don't have to have a G-scale train. Many of our members do not have their own layout or their own trains and this kind of fills in for those just interested in railroading,” Riverside Railroad...Read more