from: The Model Railways Shunting Puzzles Website
This small layout, conceived by famous US modeller John Allen and introduced in the November 1972 issue of Model Railroader (the last article John Allen wrote) is a truly classic switching puzzle and probably the most important layout concept of this type. The layout’s operating philosophy became even more of a household name in model railroading after Russ Cain, a member of John Allen’s Gorre & Daphetid operating crew, published an article in the October1976 issue of Model Railroader on building the “Timesaver” using easily available standard components and Kadee couplers.
Most people are introduced to this aspect of model railroading by the “Timesaver”, and the underlying ideas of how to create and sustain operating interest on a minimum-space layout have influenced innumerable layouts.
While it is also true that the “Timesaver” concept has largely been restricted to American prototype modelling, it certainly ranks among the very small number of model railroading milestones which have stood the test of time without the slightest sign of becoming stale – the “Timesaver” continues to inspire modellers to build small layouts and provides as much fun as it did 30 years ago.