The original “Timesaver” layout requires 5 switches to build up a layout with 5 sidings and a runaround track, providing access to 5 destinations (e.g. industries) receiving and sending goods by rail.
I had 4 switches and 1 double switch, so I modified the layout to fit all my switches, leaving me with 1 extra staging track.
Most importantly, each section of the track plan has a specific length which is measured in terms of the number of rolling stock it can hold. This includes both the freight cars and the locomotive used, meaning that a siding with a capacity of 2 should be able to hold either two freight cars or one freight car plus locomotive. The original Timesaver was conceived for five 40ft freight cars and 1 switcher.
Restricting the length of the tracks is a key element of the switching game, because it limits the number of freight cars you can temporarily leave on a siding while getting another car to its actual destination. In order to end up with a working Timesaver layout, the lenghts of the individual sidings as given above should not be changed.
With the track layout and storage capacities indicated above, it is easy to determine the length of a Timesaver layout in any modelling scale – you just measure the longest item to be used on the layout and multiply this with the storage capacity index of the individual sidings (e.g. if you use 50ft boxcars instead of 40ft boxcars, the tracks need to be lengthened accordingly). Special care should be taken with the runround track, making sure that the clearances work on all sides. Before starting to build a Timesaver layout, you will obviously need to know the projected size of the layout.
So, first you must know the length of your loco’s and cars, then you can start building your layout. But sometimes reality kickes in…