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Just did a quick search and found KATO 20-176 N Unitrack Compact 117mm (4 3/5") Radius 45º Curve Track.
That would make the center of the track diameter of 9 1/5 inches or guessing with the road bed about 10 1/2 inches outside diameter. So the loop might be possible for continuous running and maybe with some switches a little switching activity in the middle. You engine and rolling stock choice would need to be able to handle the tight radius.
Lots of suggestions --- but remember is it your railroad.
Enjoy the hobby!!!
 

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So I was right, I saw 9 3/4 and thought it would fit, but then cid said it wouldn't work, so he changed my mind. :confused:
But like I said I have N but never laid down track with the N.
But then he said Z scale wouldn't fit either...........I didn't want to argue.
I thought he knew. :rolleyes:
 

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The information you were given about N scale radius at 9 3/4" may be a correct measurement it's not going to help you. What you need is the diameter which in this case is 19 1/2" which is why N scale will not work. If the Z scale measurement scale is correct and it's also a radius then you will be over 15" diameter. That's probably why the hobby shop track was too large.
So who is right now?
John or cid and you? :unsure:
 

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Carolyn, welcome aboard the Obsession Express! As you've seen there's no shortage of ideas and guidance here. Here's another.
Why not build a switching layout in your piano bench? That way your GP38 wouldn't have to wrestle with super tight curves, and you could build a plausible industrial diorama and get some practice at both scenery fabrication and prototypical operation. I would suggest building it on a sheet of thin plywood that would fit down into your bench, but could be easily lifted out to work on.
My cats love practicing their rodent killing skills on my N scale trains, so I would suggest a hinged lexan cover between the bench and its wooden seat. I have an ancient Bachmann "sacrificial" switch engine that Onyx and Ebony can wreak their havoc on. Haven't killed it yet!
Is there a sofa and coffee table in your small apartment? After you've honed your skills on the switching layout, maybe you'd like to tackle a coffee table rail empire. There's lots you can do with N scale and a coffee table. Most important, have fun!
 

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o who is right now?
John or cid and you? :unsure:
Haha, an interesting question, Big Ed! I'm sure we never realized it was a contest! :giggle: We know only that Carolyn has an 11" wide bench! How accurate that is, or how thick the sidewalls are, or what the inside dimension is (unless that is it), we can only guess. We discovered that there was a "Unitrack Compact" line with a radius only half their regular product offering, so, as I told her in post #30, "Well, your 9-1/4 centerline diameter N-scale might fit inside your bench depending on the inside dimension." So, I hope that was right!
Like GRJ said, it's 9.91" outside which gives her a 0.54" allowable wall thickness if the 11" outside measurement is accurate. So, THAT is the reason we are now waiting for the arrival of her components for test fitting. Even then, that's only about half the radius that most N locos are said to accommodate, if I'm not mistaken. There is also N flextrack available which can bend tightly, but I really think that the limitation here is what loco can be run. There is probably a Japanese Trolley which can handle the tight curve if all else fails.:)
 

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Carolyn, welcome aboard the Obsession Express! As you've seen there's no shortage of ideas and guidance here. Here's another.
Why not build a switching layout in your piano bench? That way your GP38 wouldn't have to wrestle with super tight curves, and you could build a plausible industrial diorama and get some practice at both scenery fabrication and prototypical operation. I would suggest building it on a sheet of thin plywood that would fit down into your bench, but could be easily lifted out to work on.
My cats love practicing their rodent killing skills on my N scale trains, so I would suggest a hinged lexan cover between the bench and its wooden seat. I have an ancient Bachmann "sacrificial" switch engine that Onyx and Ebony can wreak their havoc on. Haven't killed it yet!
Is there a sofa and coffee table in your small apartment? After you've honed your skills on the switching layout, maybe you'd like to tackle a coffee table rail empire. There's lots you can do with N scale and a coffee table. Most important, have fun!
I already obsessed about a switching layout. Post 15. :cool:
 

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I think that she just wants to keep us all in suspense 🤣🤣🤣
OK, but surely a Z scale would work in that space?
Like I said my n scale table I received built, so I never laid down any N track. I was going to mention the flex track, but then again I never had any.
Z scale I never had. But that should fit in the space?
 

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I would think so, BUT... the Z-scale minimum radius sectional I saw advertised was larger than the 117mm N scale!! So, go figure. If there's a Z-scale flex, that would probably the IDEAL solution. I can't wait to see what she comes up with, because she's obviously talented and imaginative, so I think we are all gonna learn something!! (y) It's already making me want to try something like that!
 

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This is what I found on TrainBoard:

"As John said the typical radius to get the majority of Z scale equipment to run reliably is 9" (195mm). Even better for running is 10" (220mm). Both MTL and Marklin make these sizes in sectional track. MTL's track is easier to use if you are new to model railroading. Marklin also has a smaller size radius, the 145mm that John mentioned, but much of what is available won't run well on this (around 7"). "
So, it could be that Z is not very forgiving of tight curves. Just have to tack down up a loop and run it for a while. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #56
i'm reading and learning TONS from you guys, thank you for being so well informed and willing to share.
i'm waiting for my engine and track to arrive. finances took a bit of a hit this month, so more pieces will have to wait for a bit.
needed a new saddle for my horse, who is hard to fit. nothing I own works. (sigh.) dog went to the vet. nothing serious, but meds for a couple of weeks.
need a new computer to do my bar exam on line. (double sigh...)
notice how the saddle/horse came first in that list. lol
train stuff is on its way, so I'll let you all know when it arrives. I'm sure it won't fit where I want, but am rethinking that. might build it in a dresser drawer, instead. a pull-out lay-out. good excuse to get rid of clothes i don't need. lol
 

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So I was right, I saw 9 3/4 and thought it would fit, but then cid said it wouldn't work, so he changed my mind. :confused:
But like I said I have N but never laid down track with the N.
But then he said Z scale wouldn't fit either...........I didn't want to argue.
I thought he knew. :rolleyes:
The 9 3/4 you saw was radius which is 19 1/2 diameter. You acknowledged that mistake in an earlier post, #21. That should answer your question in post #46.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
lol. here's my plan.
if N doesn't work, I'll try Z. if Z doesn't work, I'll try T. If T doesn't work, well.
guess I'll have a collection of small smaller smallest train shtuff. :D
 

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Now we're thinking inside the box... No, wait....
Sorry, nothing better to do at the moment, reading about Fauci wild pitch, etc...:ROFLMAO::LOL:
 
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