The LGB brand and concept was the brainchild of two brothers, Eberhard and Wolfgang Richter back in 1968. They literally started a revolution in garden and outdoor railroading with their robust and weather resistant products. Quality materials such as BASF, Luran-S, Vestilene and Mercedes-quality paint made these plastic trains super durable. Unfortunately, Eberhard would have an untimely passing in 1984. Rolf, Wolfgang's son, who was trained as an attorney, had stepped into the family business and along with his cousin, Johannes Richter, became the third member of the family business located on Saganer Strasse in Nurnberg. Through the guidance of this family triumverate, LGB products continued to evolve both in quality and variety over several decades. In 2009, Rolf Richter unfortunately died in an auto accident at age 54, leaving a wife and four children behind! Just three years later in 2012, Wolfgang would pass, leaving Johannes as the sole family member at the helm. By that time, economic forces in Germany were not as favorable for a high-end toy company like LGB, which had been a very successful family business for several decades and there would be several important economic changes that would eventually lead to Marklin's stewardship and principle production moved to Hungary. Still high quality, but no longer a beloved family business with German-made products. Sad.
My personal loyalty is to the original LGB produced in Germany by the Richter family at the Saganer Strasse location. Fortunately, I have found a reliable and honest source for NEW or like-new, old original LGB, and have acquired a modest operating collection in superb condition!
The original LGB were awesome trains, loved their catalogs. They are still "good" today, but they have changed. What's worse is I haven't seen any new American offerings in YEARS. Mostly re-paints of old tooling. 2-6-0 Mogul, 2-4-4 or 0-4-4 Forney, Christmas Trolley, Grizzly Flats Chloe, F7s, Rail truck, Handcar, and the orig WP&Y diesel That's it
Piko G equipment is decent, but again offerings are VERY limited and not even close to scale.
Aristo is gone
The only players are USA Trains and MTH and Bachmann (limited items, all narrow gauge and a mix of 1:24 & 1:20)
Unfortunately true, but in my case, I am only interested in the Euro narrow gauge models. I did purchase a PIKO German BR-24 (2-6-0) tender lok and it looks and runs great. I also acquired three of their German steel-type beer reefers to pull behind it. The BR-24 and the reefers are NOT narrow gauge models.
The LGB RhB Ge 4/4 with the Glacier Express cars is my favorite! For some reason still attracted to the "Crocodile" don't know why. Some folks think it's ugly. Maybe it reminds me of a GG1 or DD1
I agree: The Glacier Express with the Ge 4/4 is an attractive train. I have always been a fan of the RhB crocodile since the first time I saw one in a local shop in 1978. Over the years since then I have had at least four, including the Alpine Classic set engine with digital sounds. Alas, at the present, I do not have one.
the sd40 style alco is an all time favorite hope to get some lgb one day really hoping they freelance another american diesel and bring out a somewhat AC6000 looking engine
I discovered LGB when I got into large scale almost thirty years ago. Bought the 2019 Lake George and Boulder Mogul. That thing ran like a champ. It was my only loco for some time, as it was rather expensive in 1992, $275.00. I ran it so much one of the side rods wore out at the attachment to the wheel. LGB of America repaired it free of charge, because it was within the five year warranty period. Not only did they install all new side rods, but replaced the original motor block wheels and all and replaced all of the lamps.
LGB of America was located in San Diego and I'm on the east coast. The whole process, sending it to them, the repair time and receiving it back took maybe a month.
Yes, LGB had an excellent reputation for both quality products and service as a family owned company.
Wolfgang Richter was a personal friend, and I saw him on a number of occasions during his visits to the U.S. Also knew Rolf Richter. Their firm produced what I still regard as the most durable and reliable trains made in any scale, and I still have a number of the original LGB items as well as some of the newer trains made in association with Marklin. I don't have a place to run them at the present time (or to build the numerous G gauge structure kits I have), but hope to be able to change that situation at some point.
Great write up fellas, thank you kindly
I never had the opportunity to meet Wolfgang Richter, but he was definitely the soul of LGB. By all accounts a very personable and enthusiastic promoter of his amazing trains.
My first encounter with LGB was at a TCA meet here in Nashville, TN in 1978. I then purchased the typical starter set (sans power pack) with the red/green/black Stainz plus the two red/beige and blue/beige coaches. I also purchased an extra Tucher Bier wagon at that time. It was loads of fun, and I soon added more track and electric switches plus more engines and cars, and I was hooked, and still am. Their early catalogs were beautifully illustrated and enticing!
Having had previous experience with Gilbert Flyer, postwar Lionel, prewar Lionel standard gauge, HO and some MARX, the immersion into der welt of LGB was a great experience! Rugged, beautifully decorated, smooth running 7 pole motors, weather proof with reliable Seuthe smoke units, and a realistic scale/gauge ratio for Euro 750mm and 1000mm prototypes was a refreshing change from my other brand encounters!
After one has used up the available S or O or HO train space in the house, basement, or attic, the next step forward is ... LGB trains outdoors in the yard -- with landscaping, buildings, tunnels, trestles, a waterfall and a Koi pond. I applaud those who can carry on.
Mike Mottler LCCA 12394
LGB also runs fine indoors on the same layout with my MTH and Lionel standard gauge! ☺
Marklin/LGB has fittingly honored Wolfgang Richter with a special edition Stainz loco and a coach.
I was fortunate to acquire a mint 30th Anniversary Stainz that was ONLY offered to those that actually attended the celebration at the factory in 1998. It came with a certificate signed by Wolfgang, Rolf and Johannes Richter.
Eberhard Richter's initials were stamped on the front doors of the cab of the first 1000 units of the 2045 RhB electric loco as a memorializing gesture to the co-founder of LGB trains.
Alas, my 2045 was NOT one of those 1000 units! 😐
Tinplate Art posted:
Alas, my 2045 was NOT one of those 1000 units! 😐
The doors were available at one time!!
Tinplate Art, great topic, yes LGB is a great name in outdoor trains. I never was able to build a large collection of G guage trains, but as you know, I found a great place to set up a G guage layout. Above the doors and through the walls in my train room. Happy Railroading
LARRY: I always liked your elevated LGB layout!
You can run it high and still see it!
VERY NICE! ☺
The elevated G gauge railways have a particular appeal, though.their construction is more involved than what their appearance might suggest!
Please share some more elevated indoor G layouts!
Back in the 1980's here in Nashville, several stores employed elevated layouts to attract and entertain customers.
Do LGB and Marklin no longer have their main German factories used in the 1980's? Or at least a combined new factory in Germany to supplement Hungary and China?
Michael: I know that the current Marklin/LGB digital electronics and sound systems are labeled made in Germany, while all the Marklin/LGB engines and rolling stock I have recently owned were labeled Hungarian production. I do not know the current disposition of the Saganer Strasse factory buildings in Nuremberg. Some LGB replacement parts (made by a third party supplier) that I have received were also labeled made in Germany.
I personally have not seen any evidence of any Chinese production of Marklin/LGB products. It is possible that some components may be outsourced, but I have NOT seen any evidence of that.
It is my understanding that all LGB production now comes out of the Marklin factory in Gyor, Hungary. I was fortunate to visit a couple of years ago before it went through a major upgrade/enlargement. They had a small store for employees and visitors and were very welcoming. One advantage with Gyor is that product has almost no shipping time for the European market, unlike China.
I previously owned two high-end LGB RhB coaches made in Hungary (each $350 retail) and they were the same high quality as original LGB production. I currently own only original LGB engines and rolling stock produced in Nuremberg. On different occasions, I once had two LGB/Aster "Frank S" live steam locos, which were great fun to steam up!
Hungary, as an Eastern European country, is more accessible from several standpoints for the German firm of Marklin/LGB.
Actually quite a few German companies have operations in Gyor, lower wages, good work force and close proximity to Germany.
The workmanship on the several Gyor-produced LGB engines and rolling stock I have owned seemed to be first rate!
Long live LGB - the brainchild of Eberhard und Wolfgang Richter! ☺