A short history of Garden Railroading

Garden railroading is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the US. One of the main reasons is that it is a hobby that can be enjoyed by the whole family, providing the family with the satisfaction of working outdoors in their garden and participating in the building, operation, and maintenance of a model railroad.

Garden railroading is not a new hobby. Its roots began in England with small outdoor garden plots starting around the turn of the 20th Century. These early model railroads were small befitting the space in most British yards and usually modeled the small narrow gauge peat, slate and coal-mining railroads found in Britain during that period. The hobby did not catch on in North America until the early 1980s. This was made possible when a West German toy manufacturer started producing models of European meter gauge trains in 1968. These new Large Scale (LS) trains (1:22.5 scale) could be operated indoors as well as outside in all kinds of weather conditions on 45mm or Gauge 1 track. This same company began to manufacture American Narrow Gauge models around 1980 in the same l:22.5 scale. The “toys” were imported into the US and sold in large New York department and toy stores and their popularity began to spread. Purchasers began to pressure the American retail establishments to have manufacturers make models of American narrow gauge trains. When that happened, the hobby literally took off.

Whole families are now coming together to participate in this fascinating hobby that includes gardening, landscaping, and model railroads. Many people just like the size and “feel” of the big Large Scale (LS) trains. Others like the way the trains add motion to their garden. Most manufacturers now design and “weatherize” their LS trains to operate outdoors year round. Many people like to install their layouts indoors or hang track near room ceilings such as in a recreation room or den. For whatever reason, garden railroading is a hobby the whole family can enjoy. Large Scale trains come in a variety of Scales: American Narrow Gauge scale = 1:20.3, European Narrow Gauge scale = 1:22.5, American Standard Gauge scale = 1:32, Aristocraft and USA trains Standard Gauge scale = 1:29, Hartland trains = 1:24, American 2 foot Narrow Gauge scale = 1:13 or 7/8. They all run on 45mm gauge/gauge 1 track. It is very easy to correctly draw the conclusion that Large Scale trains are not standardized to any particular scale. The “10 foot rule” comes into play here, “If it looks good from 10 feet, it’s OK”.

Please check the 4LargeScale.com web sites for more info.....
Please send comments and suggestions regarding this site to Webmaster@4LargeScale.Com