Large scale model railroad trains are comprised of and identified by a couple of “train scales” and when model train enthusiasts refer large scale model trains the G scale trains are part of that group. When you look at a G scale train next to an HO scale train the first thing you notice is it’s large size. This scale model train is the largest model train setup available for purchase in the United States. A German manufacturer by the name of Lehmann Gross Bahn or in English “Lehmann Big Train” started the G scale model train and is often known as LGB trains! The German company started manufacturing G scale trains in 1881 and eventually started an American branch known as LGB of America.
The “scale” for LGB trains has a ratio of 1:22. Another way of describing the G scale model train is that it is one twenty-second the size of a real life train. Most other model trains have a scale with a much lower ratio. Another scale in the “larger size trains” is the O scale and it is around 1/2 the size of a G scale train with a ratio of 1:48. To give you an idea of the size comparison between the G scale and O scale consider the below items:
- 1. A G scale train with a length of 26.7 inches and a height of 6 inches would equal an O scale of #2
- 2. The O scale would be 16.1 inches with a height of 3.6 inches
You may have heard of the term Garden Railroading, the G scale model trains are almost always used in garden railroading which refers to the indoor outdoor use of model trains. Some say the letter G in G scale refers to the old German word “groz” and a literal translation from the German means “Big”. Large-scale trains run on number #1 gauge track and G scale trains are no different easily running on #1 gauge model railroad track. Keep in mind No. 1 gauge model railroad track is specified by having a distance of 45 mm between the rails of the track.
LGB trains and large scale trains are very durable which makes them perfect for running outside. The railway tracks are manufactured of brass. Brass is unique in that it is almost maintenance free except for a little wipe down and occasional steel wool. After having G scale trains set up with small children I learned that the only thing I needed to do to keep the train running was to keep the track clean, as mentioned this only takes dry cloth and sometimes steel wool. Most train enthusiasts will use their G scale model trains indoors and provided you have the room, G scale is perfect for the indoors because of the easy set up!
If you are considering purchasing a G scale train setup I consider Aristocraft and Bachmann to be amongst the best. Already mentioned is the extreme durability of the G scale trains but it is an important factor to consider when investing your hard earned dollars. If you have children and they are at a young age you can be confident that your investment will pay off and your train will be around as your children grow old and leave the home. I have 3 boys and the youngest could barely walk when our first LGB was set up for Christmas, 27 years latter we still have it and it still works great! As a parent you can feel confident that your smaller children will be able to successfully place the LGB train on the tracks, hook up the cars and start the train rolling and when small children try to do that with smaller scales, such as HO scale, it becomes a big mess.
We can be thankful that there are different size model railroad trains for different purposes and although the LGB train is a perfect fit for the young ones, it offers plenty for dad and grandpa too with track layouts consisting of a simple oval shape to the most complex set up one could ever imagine. G scale model trains have been around for a long time and I suspect will be here for many more years!