LGB and the Stainz -- An Enduring Legacy

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If you’ve ever made your way through a model trains hobby shop, or browsed the many pages of model engines on Trainz.com, chances are you’ve come across a red box with “LGB” proudly printed all over. If you’ve been running G-Scale for a while, chances are you’ve got one or two LGB engines somewhere in your collection. LGB has been producing model trains for over 50 years, and thanks to a giant following in G-Scale trains, there don’t appear to be any signs of slowing down just yet. Stick around and get to know all about the German manufacturer and the little locomotive you see on various LGB train boxes. 

LGB & the Rise of G-Scale

Hailing from Nuremberg, Germany – LGB was founded by Ernst Paul Lehmann in 1968 and saw small beginnings in garden layouts throughout much of Germany and its surrounding European neighbors. The LGB acronym is short for Lehman Gross Bahn – which directly translates to Lehmann ‘Big Trains’ taking the founder’s last name and including it into the company name – something we’ve seen with several other model train giants. Calling them the ‘Big Trains’ was an understatement as the large 1:32 scale giant would quickly dwarf all of its O-Gauge and HO-Scale counterparts after their introduction. 

Once the buzz made its way around Europe that these larger than life G-Scale giants were in production, it was only a matter of time before North American consumers were introduced to LGB’s products. Per Wikipedia, LGB was the first company to mass produce G-Scale locomotives and is often credited for reviving the garden scale in North America, and simultaneously introducing G-Scale model trains to the world. 

Of course, your company won’t amount to much if you can’t get your branding right, prompting LGB to select a “staple” to represent their brand of model trains, and what better candidate than a real life train? As we’ll touch on just shortly, Lehmann and his crew chose none other than the 0-4-0 “Stainz” locomotive from Austria. 

The Stainz Becomes An Icon

Lehmann and his team both established a company, and had the Stainz 0-4-0 branding to immediately start advertising their product – but what exactly was the “Stainz”? Getting its name from a small village in the Mur Valley region located in central Europe, the Stainz was an Austrian 0-4-0 steam locomotive servicing various towns and stations around the Mur river. Looking at the LocomotiveFandom page, the Stainz would be commissioned in 1892 first going to the Styrian State Railway, and enjoying a lengthy run well into the 20th century. The Stainz was loved thanks to its durability and reliability – helping with the construction of various surrounding railways by transporting much of the construction equipment throughout the region. Later years would see the Stainz mainly used as a shunting engine before going into preservation status by the late 1960s. 

By 1967 the Stainz would begin its early steps into preservation, eventually becoming a museum piece in 1969. Out of commission, and out of a job – most would think the story for a locomotive ends there, but the Stainz had other plans. The Mur Valley Railway officially took over in 1969, and maintained the Stainz,where the 0-4-0 would eventually win the title of being the oldest preserved locomotive in Austria. By 2000 plans were made to reinstate the locomotive into operating condition, and rides would eventually be scheduled once more in 2008. Make no mistake, the 0-4-0 notation wasn’t just a European trend – this locomotive saw use all over the world from East Asia and Africa as well. 

There’s no denying the iconic status of the Stainz, and its quick rise to global popularity thanks partly to LGB. If you scan some of the comments on this thread on OGaugeforum.com, you’ll see tons of people who express their admiration for the Austrian steam engine, with some even getting their first Stainz model from LGB all the way back in 1977! LGB wasn’t blind to the popularity of the Stainz, and has re-released several versions of the Stainz. A blog from TrainKraftbyKlauss details 5 different set releases of the Stainz before the year 2000 alone, indicating the timeless popularity of the steam engine. 

The Stainz Keeps Rolling

In the present day, no other company is more synonymous with 1:32 G-Scale model trains than LGB. Their products go way beyond just their 0-4-0 Stainz, and yet somehow it’s our Austrian friend that continues to get the most love – I know some of you Mogul lovers out there will disagree with me on that one. The Stainz is still operated by model train enthusiasts – watch this YouTube video from Amselbahner, his model 0-4-0 looks absolutely stunning as it rounds out his garden layout. The Stainz doesn’t just stick to the summer season, check out this YouTube short of a Stainz conquering the snow…temporarily. 

Trainz.com is along with the ride too, boasting our own inventory of various Stainz 0-4-0s from late 90s set models to some of the more recent new millennium releases. The Stainz doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon with G-Scale model trains still extremely popular with collectors all over the world. It’s not only LGB’s “old reliable” but a staple with both G-Scale communities and in the general world of model trains. Whether you’re just starting your first G-Scale collection, or looking for a durable garden layout Locomotive to lead your fleet, the Stainz will do it all. Now immortalized as both a real life engine and a model replica, the 0-4-0 Stainz is here to live on forever, gracing layouts and real-life railyards alike.



Works Cited

Lehmann, Ernst Paul. “LGB (trains).” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGB_(trains). Accessed 16 February 2024.

“LGB STAINZ - The Engine That Made LGB - 2020 series.” TrainCraft By Klaus, 12 April 2021, https://traincraftbyklaus.blogspot.com/2021/04/lgb-stainz-engine-that-made-lgb-2020.html. Accessed 16 February 2024.

“Styrian State Railways No. 2 Stainz | Locomotive Wiki | Fandom.” Locomotive Wiki, https://locomotive.fandom.com/wiki/Styrian_State_Railways_No._2_Stainz. Accessed 16 February 2024.

“The Venerable LGB Stainz Loco (and friends) | O Gauge Railroading On Line Forum.” O Gauge Forum, 24 August 2020, https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/the-venerable-stainz-loco. Accessed 16 February 2024.

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