my recollection of the timesaver - was speeds on the g & d - was 4-10-0 John Allen Tribute Locomotive

Kurt Youngmann

For some oblique reason these comments reminded me of a story I’ve told before.

It was the first time I had seen the Timesaver. I’m unclear on the time frame here because I don’t remember when it was built. (Maybe someone can refresh my memory). It was after an ops session in either 1961 when I was at Fort Ord or 1972 when I visited again. We went up to the kitchen where it was sitting on the table. I watched one of the crew run it and foolishly decided to try it myself. I must admit that planning switching moves has never been one of my best talents! After shunting a couple of cars I heard John whisper to one of the guys (loud enough to for me to overhear), “Oh, I don’t think I’d have done it that way.” This was an immediate signal that I was in deep doodoo. If memory serves, I think I remember giving up and letting someone else finish for me.

After John’s death, Allan Fenton was in charge of setting up the Timesaver at various meets in California. I was frequently in awe when I saw contestants zip through the switching puzzle.

Speaking of Allan, just yesterday I had email correspondence with a friend who was with me when Andy Sperandeo told me that he had died. It was at a hobby show where Kalmbach had a booth. I mentioned to Andy that I was about to visit Monterey and that I was looking forward to contacting Allan for one of our get-togethers. Andy told me that Allan had died of a heart attack just a week previously. A quick bit of research shows that this was 19 years ago! The older we get, the quicker time flies...

Kurt Youngmann

On Aug 16, 2020, at 10:55 AM, jsm5320432 via <jsm5320432@...> wrote:

I was never fortunate enough to visit John's layout, even though I spent 6 months in Monterey at Fort Old in 1970 - basic training and infantry school. It seemed logical that his operations would be consistent with the high quality of everything else he did in modeling. I still think of the G&D as one of the best model railroads that was ever conceived and built. I'm also familiar a bit with mountain railroading via the Pickering, Westside and Sierra. I worked for the latter and the maximum speed was on the Sierra's lower division (Oakdale to Jamestown) at just 30 mph. Once you hit the hills east of there it was 20 or less (3% grades and really sharp curves knocked the bottom out of the tonnage ratings of the engines).

Good to know John wanted his operators to operate as realistically as his railroad was!

John Mills


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