A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF SOME OF THE MAJOR MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS

For historic details regarding these companies please refer to the linked HISTORY ARCHIVE.

Bachmann Industries is the largest model train manufacturer in the world, in terms of volume, and specialises in inexpensive high quality entry-level train sets sold in the mass market. 

Bachmann Trains produce a wide variety of G Scale Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives in their Large Scale Big Haulers & Spectrum Ranges including their popular Baldwin 4-6-0 which comes in various railroad liveries (with more than 1 million sold to date). The Special Anniversary Editions of this American workhorse with the latest drive mechanism, metal side-rods, and separate detail parts represent a major advance on the firm's standard production.

The Spectrum Range takes quality and detail to an even higher level and now offers accurate and finely detailed 1:20.3 Scale Steam Locomotives such as the magnificent K27; Articulated Baldwin 2-6-6-2, imposing 55 Ton Three-Truck Shay; 2-8-0 Outside-Frame Consolidation; Narrow Gauge 4-4-0; 2-6-0 Mogul,  Narrow Gauge 0-4-0 Porter Side Tank; Baldwin Articulated 2-6-6-2 Saddle Tank Locomotive and now the immaculate C19.

The range of locomotives is complemented by a large range of rolling stock including Observation & Passenger Cars, Cabooses, Flat Cars, Box Cars, Ore Cars, Tank Cars, Stock Cars, Freight Cars, Reefers, the list is endless.  Their recently introduced Spectrum Range of accurate 1:20.3 scale wagons is of museum quality and now covers a wide selection of wagon types and liveries if you are able to accommodate the larger radius curves required..

Bachmann have just introduced an entirely new range of Big Hauler trains designed to appeal to younger train enthusiasts. Featuring a compact size and colourful designs, Bachmann's LI'L BIG HAULERS® ELECTRIC TRAIN SETS are the perfect introduction to Large Scale model railroading.

There are three ready-to-run sets to choose from that include a steam locomotive with operating headlight and tender, brightly coloured freight or passenger cars, hook-and-loop couplers on all cars, 4'3" circle of steel alloy track (12 pieces), and power pack and speed controller.  

There’s also a full selection of separate-sale Li’l Big Haulers® locomotives with tenders, tank engines, hoppers, tankers, coaches, baggage cars, and cabooses. Get started on BIG railroading fun with Li’l Big Haul! 

 


LGB really need no introduction as the firm who revitalised Garden Railways in the 1960's with their exciting range of colourful model railway locomotives, rolling stock and track suitable for outdoor use.

LGB (now owned by Marklin) are widely regarded as the founders of G Scale modelling and produce a wide variety of extremely robust and weatherproof models  which is always being updated models and can be left outside throughout the year.

LGB (the standard acronym for Lehmann Gross Bahn - the "Lehmann Big Train" in German) are widely recognised as responsible for introducing "G" scale to model railroading. 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.

The scale ratio used by LGB is 1:22.5, although other G-scale (and Gauge 1) manufacturers manufacture products that range from 1:20 to 1:32, and for the most part, all use the same 45mm Gauge Track and are broadly compatible with one another.

LGB's tooling is of great interest due to its design. For example, on the standard 4-wheel coach they have a choice of 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 manufacture a wide variety of rolling stock including 2 and 4 axle Passenger Cars, Flat Cars, Box Cars, Reefers, Tank Cars, Freight Cars, Stock Cars, Gondolas, Cabooses, etc. in both European and North American outline.

If you are interested in how G Scale Model Trains are actually made the following  video takes you behind the scenes on a tour of the LGB factory in  Nürnberg, Germany  in 2005 when production was centred there.

 

 

Aristo-Craft Trains, located in Jersey City, New Jersey, was founded in 1935 by Nathan Polk. Aristo-Craft has the largest selection of G Scale products on the market (a claim contested by USA Trains - see below) but certainly seem to have the largest selection of 45mm track in various metals and both USA and European Tie (Sleeper) spacing. Models are accurate, highly detailed, well built and affordable but apart from the vintage Delton 1:24 range are mainly 1:29 Scale for mainline operations. Their selection of electrical control equipment including Train Engineer and the new Revolution devices have proved popular with many enthusiasts.

Specific eras: Steam (Pre-1940), Steam-to-diesel transition (1940-1960)

Aristo-craft has recently announced that with much regret they will be closing their doors on 31st December 2013 after serving the needs of the large scale model railway community for over 75 years. This is really disappointing news and unless a white knight appears to take over the family business (which seems unlikely) their extensive product range will disappear. They are currently holding a "Closing Down" Sale with 40% of virtually all their products but many items are already sold out. It is not entirely clear what, if anything, will happen to existing warranties and repair facilities. 

A separate company called CREST ELECTRONICS has been created to handle the company's product range of the same name. and they have recently announced that they will undertake repairs for Aristo-Craft Trains for at least one year or until the parts run out“.



Latest News:  It would seem that Polks Generation Next may have also ceased trading and their website appears to have closed down. There were unsubstantiated rumours that Kader, their Chinese manufacturer, had “pulled the plug” and a formal statement from Scott Polk is awaited. Kader, who became the world’s largest model train manufacturer when they acquired commercial rival Sanda Kan in 2008, also own Bachmann Industries giving rise to some speculation that they might take over future distribution but we will just have to wait and see.