LGB (Lehmann Gross Bahn)

LGB is the standard acronym for Lehmann Gross Bahn - the "Lehmann Big Train" in German. Made by Ernst Paul Lehmann Patentwerk in Nuremberg, Germany, since 1968Cite book | author=Souter, Gerry; Souter, Janet | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Modern toy trains | date=2002 | publisher=MBI | location=St. Paul, Minn. | isbn=978-0-7603-1179-0 | pages=35] , it is the most popular garden railway model in Europe, although there are also many models of U.S. and Canadian prototypesCite book | author=Johnson, Kent R. | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Garden railroading: getting started in the hobby | date=2002 | publisher=Kalmbach Books | location=Waukesha, WI | isbn=978-0-89024-369-5 | pages=5] . LGB caused a revival of garden model railroading in the United States when it was introduced. LGB was sold in the United States under the outfit "LGB of America." Most of the European prototypes were manufactured in Germany, while most of the North American rolling stock was made in China.

LGB trains are responsible for introducing "G" scale to model railroading. The scale ratio used by LGB is 1:22.5 [Cite book | author=Johnson, Kent R. | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Basic Model Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby (Model Railroader Books) | date= | publisher=Kalmbach Publishing Company | location= | isbn=978-0-89024-334-3 | pages=7] , although other G-scale (and Gauge 1) manufacturers produce products that range from 1:20 to 1:32Cite book | author=A. Grams, John | authorlink= | coauthors= | title=Toy train collecting and operating: an introduction to the hobby | date=1999 | publisher=Kalmbach Books | location=Waukesha, WI | isbn=978-0-89778-447-4 | pages=] , and for the most part, all use the same track and are compatible with one another. Though they can all run on the same track, it should be noted, however, that models representing narrow-gauge versions of trains or locomotives would not normally be run together with models of larger full-scale vehicles. To fit the same standard track the latter must be built using different scales. To illustrate the point, 1:22.5 scale passengers and/or train crew are somewhat oversized when displayed in close proximity with 1:32 models. Though the models may be physically compatible, many people choose a style or era to fit their desires and pick one ratio (in the range of 1:20.3 to 1:32) to model all of their trains in.

One of the most prominent aspects of LGB trains over other model railroad models is their durability. All locomotives, track, and accessories of the main product line function in rain and snow allowing nearly anyone to have an outdoor garden railroad.

The first loco made under the LGB brand was a model of a small Austrian 0-4-0 named "Stainz". This loco appears in the LGB logo and is still in production today, although it now has a sound system and other mechanical differences to the original 1968 model. Most garden railway enthusiasts have at least one example of a Stainz in their collection as it tends to be a robust loco with good pulling power.

LGB's tooling is of great interest due to its design. For example, on the standard 4-wheel coach they have a choice four roof designs and three body designs, all using the same chassis and end walkway mouldings. Such careful planning allows common parts to be used keeping costs down. Two very different-looking vehicles can share all but one or two components.

LGB's engineering is also of similar interest. Starter sets typically include a circle of track with a 4 foot diameter and a smaller two-axle locomotive, like the Stainz mentioned above.

Bankruptcy, purchase, and resumption of production

The German company Ernst Paul Lehmann filed for bankruptcy in late 2006, only a few short months after LGB of America (LGBoA) was spun off into its own company. LGBoA was one of the companies that bid on the purchase of Lehmann's remaining assets, but lost to Märklin, another German model train manufacturer. Shipping and production resumed in fall 2007, with the LGB brand intact. On September 21, 2007, an interim agreement concerning already-manufactured product was signed between LGBoA and Märklin that gave LGBoA exclusive distribution and service rights in North America. However, a new contract had yet to be signed by May 1, 2008 and LGBoA does not expect one to be signed in 2008. Since LGBoA owns the LGB trademark in the United States, new LGB products cannot be distributed there without some sort of agreement between LGBoA and Märklin. Meanwhile, Märklin has been distributing new products to the rest of the world.

On June 1, 2008, LGBoA was reorganized into a new company, Silvergate Distributors. Though LGBoA was not dissolved, Silvergate assumed distribution of remaining LGB stock as well as current and new product lines. Silvergate appears to be now focusing on Piko as its main model railroad product line.


External links

* [http://www.lgb-bahn.de/ LGB website]
* [http://www.maerklin.com/ Märklin website]
* [http://www.silvergatedistributors.com/ Silvergate Distributors website]

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