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Generally the standard radius are R1 =371mm

R2 = 432

R3 = 505

R4 = 572

So if you take this then a half loop in R3 needs 1.01m plus the extra width which is 20 mm (10 either side) and you need a bit of swing space too so say another 10 each side. Now if R3 is the outer then the minimum end width of your plank is 1.05m so you are looking at 42 inches and this is the minimum to be effective. You can inside in a sort of a dog bone shape might help a bit to get reach and access.

If you have the space Streamline is great, I use this but you will never get a tight curve using this it is great for long sweeping realistic curves, for a train set on a plank it will be too difficult.

Points, the minimum radius of the set track points is R2 = 432mm and ALL Hornby locos will tackle this, big Heljans will come off the track some Bachmann locos will dislike it too so again much better to use Streamline electrofrog but you do not have the space. As the curves tighten up coaches will cut the chord and end sweep more so the physical separation needs to be greater - and you do not have the space for other than set track.

R1 is for very small locos such as the Peckett but Hornby Railroad range will tackle this radius including the Railroad 9F just goes to show what you can do if you try!

From this you will see that - you never have enough space!

The UK outline of locos is good, UK stuff is pretty reasonably priced compared to continental and it is hugely better than it was before,

The quintessential loco for UK is the Hornby Black 5 - did everything and last used by BR on 12 August 1968 (the day after steam officially ended) - it shunted Preston yard 45212 the Hornby model os a 'good 'un' will take tight corner, has flexible axles and is pretty robust.