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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Airfix Model Railways
Postwar Lionel Trains Library
Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
Clubs & Associations
- Train Collectors Association
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- Lionel Collectors Club of America
- Toy Train Operating Society
- National Association of S Gaugers, Inc.
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Recent News: G Scale Trains
Source: Google News
Collector helps keep holiday spirit on trackRichmond Times-Dispatch, November 26th
This one showcases rare original Lionel standard gauge trains, which are slightly larger than O gauge and smaller than the G scale trains that often circle Christmas trees or traverse outdoor garden railways. Here again, the track pattern is intricate...Read more
All Aboard For The HolidaysPolkio.com, November 26th
#“Everybody wants to put a train under their Christmas tree,” he said. For that purpose, he would recommend a larger scale than HO, such as O or G. #“They make battery operated (trains) that are G scale which are pretty good,” Pryor said. #Tracks under...Read more
DelMarVa Model Railroad Club holds Holiday Train ShowThe Star Democrat, November 25th
The show takes place on the second floor of Camelot Hall at the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club, 103 E. State St., Delmar. The club promises something for everyone with more than 6,000-sq.-ft. and 10 train layouts in Z/N/HO/S/O/G scale including rare pre- ...Read more
BORDENTOWN CITY: Train sounds to fill air at Old City HallPacket Online, November 25th
Train displays are featured throughout the Old City Hall building on various levels. Commissioner Targonski and his wife, Nancy, will display various trains dating back from the early 1900s up to the present. These will include a large collection of G...Read more
Community Briefs: Nov. 25BlueRidgeNow.com, November 25th
The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Train Depot, 650 Maple St., Hendersonville. There will be ... The new G scale layout is behind the Depot...Read more
Polk City Business Spotlight: Kidman Tree FarmDesMoinesRegister.com, November 24th
A: In our gift shop is an LGB train on display with 200 feet of track. We also have 500 feet of railway winding around outside. Model G scale garden trains can be set up indoors or outdoors year-round. There are buildings, people, bridges, tunnels and...Read more
GLFD station central for ninth annual train show Dec. 5-7Brunswick Beacon, November 24th
6, and Sunday, Dec. 7. Train displays will fill the station and run the gamut, from the smallest “Z” scale toted in a suitcase to larger N, HO, O and G-scale models. There will also be train vendors, food including baked goods, Santa Claus and a train...Read more
Model railroads, therapy for McHenry boy with Asperger syndromeNorthwest Herald, November 24th
“He wakes up and goes to sleep talking about trains,” his mom, Julie Gray said. Andrew's intense passion for trains is not the only thing that makes this young man unique. Andrew has Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by...Read more