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 1968, it is the most popular garden railway model in Europe, although there are also many models of U.S. and Canadian prototypes. 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, although other G-scale (and Gauge 1) manufacturers produce products that range from 1:20 to 1:32, 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.
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.