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I seriously modeled n-scale in the late 70's but have been out of it for a long time so have not run my engines in a long time. Just bought some used rolling stock and realize that I need a small track to exercise my engines so the motors don't gum up, seize up. Just picked up a sheet of Homosote for a base and am wondering what is the shortest radius I can assemble to make a simple loop. I'd like the sheet of Homosote to be maybe 24"x 36" or even 20"x36". Can I get an oval in that size board? Be gentle now, I've been away from this for a long time. Thanks
 

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You can get n scale track pieces down to about 4-1/2" radius, but not much would run on those extremely tight curves. Your best bet would be to use a 9-3/4" radius curves, which still may be a little tight for some of the biggest stuff, but should run most everything else.

At this size, your end loops will be 19" measured at the track centers. This would fit on a 20" width, but just barely. If something derailed, it could make the Drop of Death to the floor, so better to leave a little extra room and go with 21 or 22".
 

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Why stay with a circle for your 'exercise' track ? Why not add some straight track and even a manual switch or two to get some small modicum of realism...Put a structure on it, too...
 

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The Kato Unitrak V5 Inside Loop Track Set gives you an oval using 11-inch radius track. It snaps together really easily, so you can put it up when you want exercise the engines and take it down when you're done. At 22-inch diameter, It will fit on the dining room table, and it's big enough it will handle long passenger cars, although it doesn't look great.

Want a little bigger? There are a couple of other options.

 
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