Some further notes on the TimeSaver from Glenn Joesten, one of the Gorre Operators:
I generally traveled to conventions with the late Allan Fenton and assisted him with the contest.
There were two boards in use - one was John's and the other was built by Bill Corsa. The interchange switch (which can be left off) allowed two boards to be connected. One of the most difficult things for operators of the double Timesaver was to remember that they were competing as a team against the clock, not against each other. The idea there was to cooperate in sending the outbound cars to the other guy such that the whole thing did not become hopelessly plugged.
The original ones were suffering considerable wear and repairs at the time Allan died. In consultation with his son Jeffrey it was decided to give one to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the other to the NMRA Howell Day Museum. These would include a full set of rolling stock with each--including the PFM Climaxes. (For those who really want to emulate the originals, Bachmann's Climax would be ideal power. )
The original drawing, I believe, appeared in the November, 1972 Model Railroader. It was John's last article published before he died. The originals were all hand-laid track. The "Snap Track Timesaver" was built and written up by Russ Cain, at the request of Linn Westcott. It appeared in Model Railroader in October, 1976. An N Scale version was also built at the time by amember of the G&D Operators group who was a US Navy officer--he took it to sea with him-
You will note that the tracks are designated not by absolute lebgth, but by how many cars will fit and clear the switches. By using these, it can be built for any era. One of our persistent champions is an Amtrak engineer--we often suggested we would build one for him that would allow him to switch Amfleets and Superliners - with a P-40!
There were a pair of timing marks along the straight side -3 feet apart - the throttle was to be regulated so that the loco traveled that distance in 15 seconds.
In the Pacific Coast Region, we have so many "experts" that if anyone did a five-car problem in under seven minutes, he was upgraded to "Conductor" and had to re-try with six cars. (These still frequently have times under five minutes. A couple have even done it in less than four. ) Seven cars is about the maximum that can be used.