Charnwood Forest Garden Railway

We're more than just a railway....

Running Saturdays, Sundays and Bank holidays throughout the year.

Proud Supporters of the GCR Model Show

Railway attract all ages....

Most People have owned a model railway at some point in their lives whether it be BRIO, Hornby or something else however there is a special attraction to seeing large G scale models working especially if they are pulled by real steam engines. Not everyone wants to get oily and messy so electric G scale would be the way forward in that case. What this page aims to do is to help all new starters and people interested in the hobby where to start, what to buy and where to get it from. To help you find the area you want, this page is split up into 5 sections. A general introduction for the things you need to know about 45mm. Track. Live steam and battery power. Electric and something for the young one..the Thomas range!


With G scale there is so many things that you can model. The CFR is a narrow gauged railway set in Germany/Switzerland. Narrow gauge railways frequently run where standard gauge is not possible (e.g If the isn't enough room or the corners are to tight.). The Gauge is the distance between that rails, the CFR which is G scale is 45mm. There are several different manufacturers for this scale and lots of dealers so it pays to shop around.

As you look around the CFR you may be wondering how to start if you haven't got £100's to spend. Is this just a hobby for the retired gentleman with lots of cash to spend or can us normal people join in? The answer is simple, there is no two ways about it. This hobby can cost you a lot of money if you are prepared to spend it but anyone can make a start, have a great layout and take it from there. For a kick off, you don't even need a garden! Perhaps a spare room, the attic or the garden shed would do just as well. Even if it is just a small circuit, the CFR welcomes visitors with there engine most weekends so if you have any problems or questions or if you just want to give your engine a go run, Simply send us an email and we can expect to see you.

Now lets move on to your chosen area of interest! 


The CFR is made up of LGB track. This is great for everything both electric and live steam. It costs around £4.90 a foot from our dealer, Dragon G Scale. Another track that we recommend is PEKO track. It comes in straight pieces and you bend it for a gentle or sharp a curve as you want. There are a number of retailers selling this track.(Roundhouse, Track Shack, GRS for examples..)

Live Steam and Battery powered.

Live Steam, with the big price tag. If you want to start a live steam layout, it would be best to start with a loco that is relatively basic so you learn how to work that before moving on the the larger more complex locos. There are two main contenders for this. Roundhouse is who the CFR highly recommends! Their Basic series of locos contains 3 great little simple easy to use and great first live locos. I would highly recommend the Millie. Costing Around £570 when VAT is added. After this you can move on to the large range of locos that roundhouse produce. Every year Roundhouse bring out a new model but this also means one has to go. There is lots more information about how Live steam engines work and to use them on there website, well worth a browse. Roundhouse's website

The other main contender is Accucraft. Slightly cheaper than  Roundhouse and this shows on the models but still for a first model can be very rewarding. I would recomend the Ragleth. A great little loco costing just over £600 and can be bought with or without R/C (Radio Control). We recommend TrackShack if you want to buy any Accucraft items as they sell things at the best prices around.

When you get your first Live steam loco, you can read the owners hand book as many times as you like. Its always best if you bring your loco to a place like the CFR with a group of people that are willing to help you learn and get the best from your loco. If you have any more questions that you wish to ask about live steam Click Here to fill in a contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

**Remember, Live steam locos work like the real thing, they take a lot of looking after and things can go wrong causing frustration. We recommend anyone under the age of 15 to start with electric g scale first before moving on to Live Steam as they can be dangerous pieces of equipment if not looked after correctly.


When starting with an electric G scale set up, it’s always best to start with a starter set. There are several main competitors here. LGB is by far superior to all other G scale manufactures, their starter set will give you a circle of track, a 1 amp controller, 4 figures, 1 electric loco and 2 coaches. Believe it or not, this is how most garden railways start! Once again available from our highly recommended  Dragon g scale. (LGB Starter Set) There are several different variations of this all of which can be seen on Dragon G scale's 'Train Set' Page.

Other manufactures include Piko , Aristocraft and Bachmann for a selection of starter sets. There models are very good quality and their ranges are always expanding. Click here to see a Piko Starter Set. Just because you have a Piko starter set doesn't mean to say you cannot buy LGB locos to run on it and vice versa. After you have your starter set you will be able to buy extra track to extend your layout and your garden railway has began!

Click here for all the Starter Set Dragon G scale has to offer.

Just like Live steam if you have any Question that you want to ask us or when you buy your starter set there is something you want an expert eye to take a look at, simply Click Here to fill in a contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

** LGB and similar are totally weather proof, no need to take things in if it rain or snows, they can give you full enjoyment all 4 seasons!

Thomas & Friends

Thomas and friends, great if you have grand kids or you are a little youngster yourself! In 2010 Bachmann got the rights to make the Thomas and Friends range. So far they have brought out Thomas, Percy and James with some coaches, tankers and troublesome truck. They are made to very high standards and great if you you want a cheap wagon to kit bash. Thomas and crew have their own website ran by dragon g scale. Click here to see that page. There are plan for the range to expand so start your own island of Sodor today!

Click Here to fill in a contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible if you have any questions!

Second Hand Market

There is a great Second hand market for G scale, most dealers have a large supply and you can really pick up a bargain on ebay. There is lots of good deals out there you just have to find them first! On our links page there are many suppliers listed who usually have second hand stock, take a look!

Here to help!

The Charnwood Forest Garden Railway is like any other railway group (Or hobby group for that matter!). We get the most out of it from meeting with like-minded people giving each other information, encouragement and advice to help each other. So if you have a problem pay us a visit any weekend and we will be happy to help you as much as we can and try to point you in the right direction for help we can't offer.

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