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Philly's solari. Split flap board

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Philly's solari. Split flap board
Posted by NVSRR on Tuesday, January 08, 2019 9:57 AM

since most dont know what they are,  i will start there.    Amtrak, and many of it predecessors,  had train schual boards that were giant rollodexes basically.   They would roll over to show progress. Like arrival or departure times. On time  or late and destination. The old version of what you see in commuter and passenger stations today.      Well. There is one remaining in 30th street station here in Philadelphia.  But not for long.   This one will go to the PA railroad museum.   One of three left in service.    Only. There is a lot of push back about it being changed out for a display screen.
the constant clacking noise of the unit updating is an integral part of the station ambiance.  It is very unique. Which is why there is so much resistance to it being removed.  This has been going on for a couple of years.   Currently discussions. Are under way to build an updated version. Or retrofit this one.     The reason for replacement isnt parts.   It was updated 15 or so years ago so it has all newer mechanicals.     The replacement is becuase it is not ADA compliant. Not sure how that is.      
I havent seen it posted here about it ongoing saga. Figured i would fill in the story of this historic piece of history.  This specific one has seen two world wars from the install date i was told.

It would make an interesting piece to make for anybody with passenger operations on a club layout or such.    Especially during open houses.  They used to be comon

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 7:25 AM

 After spending several weeks traveling back and forth to NYC, I fail to see how those large LCD screens are any more ADA compliant than the old display board at 30th St. They're too far away to use a screen reader, so if you can't see them, you can't see them. Maybe it's because there is no sound which would alert you to a change, it forces there to be an announcement made every time the status of a train. Voice synthesized, at least at NYC Penn, because it has a lot of trouble with the NJ Transit train destination town names.

                                 --Randy 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 7:57 AM

NY Penn Station had one. I too, loved the sounds it made when times and names changed. It will be sorely missed. 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 8:45 AM

 NYP has been gone for a while now. Those two big displays and the smaller ones (onthe main concourse level) are just cold and impersonal. Nothing like the clacking as the old display updated.

                             --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, January 09, 2019 3:54 PM

Here's the Solari board in Newark (Not the most professionally made video, but...)

It doesn't have quite the charm of the older-style boards. Here's a nice look at the board in Philly:

This short view has some nice closeups of the flippers:

During my early visits to the NEC I always remember the Station Attendant chalking up the arrival and departure board in Baltimore. He would make his changes in chalk while the board was still damp from wiping the old information off. I'll bet in all his years of "chalking" he probably learned to do that to keep the dust down.

As the dampness went away the bright white chalk writing would magically appear against the slate gray (almost black) background. Fascinating to watch!

If I recall correctly, the board was on an elevating system so he could lower it to make changes then raise it back up again. This was late '60s early 1970s.

Thank You, Ed

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Posted by BigJim on Thursday, January 10, 2019 11:32 AM

That was cool!!!

.

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Posted by wojosa31 on Thursday, January 24, 2019 9:49 PM

gmpullman
If I recall correctly, the board was on an elevating system so he could lower it to make changes then raise it back up again. This was late '60s early 1970s.

Your memory is correct, the board slid down for updates then wasreturned to viewing level.

In Philadelphia, If I remember correctly, the Assistant Station Master or Usher on duty would use a short step ladder to update the board. One ASM, I believe his name was Ray Moore, would use script to provide the extra touch of class to the arrival - departure board. The Solari board came into use somewhere around 1975 or 1976. 

Boris

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 25, 2019 2:24 AM

wojosa31
Your memory is correct, the board slid down for updates then wasreturned to viewing level.

Thanks, Boris! I'd give anything to take a spin in the Wayback Machine and re-visit that time in Baltimore. My dad took me on a little "circle" vacation beginning with a ride on the Capitol out of Akron, to DC, then later that day one of the fast Pennsy trains to Baltimore where we stayed the night. Next morning was an even FASTER Metroliner ride to Penn Station. I still remember the "New car" smell and looking over the engineer's (motorman's?) shoulder and at that time we did hit 120 for a stretch.

In New York we paraded over to Grand Central where we had a Sleepercoach on what was left of the "Century" after the name was dropped in '67 for an overnight ride on the Water Level Route to Cleveland.

 PC Power at Buffalo by Edmund, on Flickr

Morning in Buffalo.

Just a taste of the pre-Amtrak days but it sure was a memorable trip for me.

Thanks again, Ed

 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, January 25, 2019 10:43 AM

gmpullman
...Morning in Buffalo....

Nice to see the TH&B's (CPRail) RDCs in your photo, Ed.

Wayne

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 25, 2019 2:24 PM

 30th Street's Solari board will be gone by the weekend. At least it's going to be viewable - Railroad Museum of PA is getting it.

https://billypenn.com/2019/01/24/amtrak-is-dismantling-30th-street-stations-iconic-flipping-board-right-now/

Another article had some other information - Solari no longer makes repair parts for a board that old, and it's currently driven by a WINDOWS 95(!) computer.

                               --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 25, 2019 2:56 PM

doctorwayne
Nice to see the TH&B's (CPRail) RDCs in your photo, Ed.

These were the remnants of the "glory days" Wayne. We may have bumped elbows at the Buffalo Central Station. Back then I could leave my house and walk to the bus stop. For 35¢ get a bus/rapid transit ride to Cleveland Union Terminal. Buy a round-trip ticket to Buffalo (or Elkhart, depending on my whims) for about fifteen bucks and have a day of "trainspotting" for about a week's worth of allowance.

 PRR E8s from Harrisburg by Edmund, on Flickr

Regards, Ed

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