WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

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WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby smallfire85 » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:53 pm

Hi all,

I was able to snag an old WMATA rollsign that popped up on eBay a while back. I finally had a little time to unroll it and take pictures of it.

It is a sizable roll, about 37" wide, and is ink printed on Mylar, maybe 2 mil thick. It is sturdy, but not as robust as rolls from other systems at around the same time. These signs were replaced with the current dot matrix signs in the late '80s/early '90s, and unfortunately most were trashed. This sign seems to have been updated as late as the early '80s, given the readings. I have been trying to find pictures of trains with these signs in the 1983-1993 timeframe to see if any more modifications were made to the signs.

I apologize for the large readings being upside down in most of the pics, I will get pictures of each reading when I have the time. Until then, enjoy!

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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby JackRussell » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:16 pm

I note that "Vienna" is in there, and that station didn't open until 1986.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby Sand Box John » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:32 pm

The origenal rolls had 100 place on them. All of build out temporary terminals, all the short turn terminals. and many of the stations that had an adjacent interlocking and several unused blank places. The white on black destination were of the adjacent interlocking verity. There even was a white on black Dulles Airport on the origenal rolls. Not all of the destinations that had a line color exterior sign had a companion strip map that displayed in the interior.

The rolls were truncated from their origenal 100 place length to something shorter to increase their reliability before they were abandoned and replace by the flipdots.

Here is what one of the truncated rolls looked like. It belong to an freind of mine that lives in Western Maryland.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby jerryinva » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:17 am

I noticed that Glebe Road is on that roll sign. When did that disappear off of the maps? That might narrow down the time frame of that roll sign. Still, very cool, thanks for sharing! I love seeing old WMATA stuff like that. I am only disappointed I didn't manage to snag something from the Rohr cars before I moved out of the area.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby Sand Box John » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:41 am

"jerryinva"
I noticed that Glebe Road is on that roll sign. When did that disappear off of the maps? That might narrow down the time frame of that roll sign. Still, very cool, thanks for sharing! I love seeing old WMATA stuff like that. I am only disappointed I didn't manage to snag something from the Rohr cars before I moved out of the area.


The cars were shipped from Winder Georgia with white on black Glebe Road on the rolls. Virginia Square and Ballston had their station names changed from Ballston and Glebe Road shortly before that segment of the Orange line opened. WMATA later modified the rolls and added a black on orange Ballston and modified the companion New Carrollton Strip map with Virginia Square and Ballston.

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Notice the indexing marks on the Glebe Road place is blanked out to prevent it from being automatically displayed.

Image
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby JDC » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:39 am

Modern technology is amazing, of course. LED destination signs? No big deal. But what really fascinates me is how this early technology worked (and I presume worked well). Roll signs that automatically scrolled to display the correct destination? Very cool.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby Sand Box John » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:29 pm

"JDC"
Modern technology is amazing, of course. LED destination signs? No big deal. But what really fascinates me is how this early technology worked (and I presume worked well). Roll signs that automatically scrolled to display the correct destination? Very cool.


The technology did in fact work well. However the way it was implemented created issues that gave WMATA problems almost from the beginning.The rolls were extremely long causing mechanical issues that resulted in malfunctions. The bar codes scanners used to find the places on the rolls would sometimes act stupid and run the rolls from end to end to end . . . until the motor burned out. The terminal pairs were not always place on the rolls closes to each other reducing search time. On two occasion I saw rolls that were torn apart. Prior to their abandonment and replacement with flip dots WMATA truncated them down to only having the active short turn and final terminal stations on them.This increase the reliability considerably but the decision to replace with flip dots had been made.

I would have love to have seen WMATA spec LCD displays in the 7k cars that would have mimicked the origenal roll signs on the 1k cars, both interior and exterior.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Oct 29, 2016 6:20 pm

SF and SBJ:

Good pictures of early 80s (?) Metro rollsigns...

Does anyone have any original 70s vintage rollsigns from the early Metro days
of the mid to late 1970s?

One designation I remember spotting once was a black on orange Dulles Airport
designation that for some reason stayed in my mind...Was the original expansion
plan to extend the Orange Line to Dulles after the original 101 mile system was
completed? Is today's Silver Line a better option as I feel it will be?

Remembering the Metro rollsign problems does anyone remember around when
Metro began using the placards with the line name and colored circle in the front
center door window? Were they phased out when dot matrix signs were installed?
Does anyone have any pictures of these and did they get saved anyplace?

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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby Sand Box John » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:39 pm

"MACTRAXX"
One designation I remember spotting once was a black on orange Dulles Airport
designation that for some reason stayed in my mind...


On several occasions I watched the rolls run from end to end and back when bar code scanner was acting stupid. At no time did I ever see a black on orange Dulles Airport destination on the rolls, white on black yes.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby MACTRAXX » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:07 pm

SBJ: Do you have any idea how often Metro replaced outright roll signs with new or updated designations?
Does anyone have an original 1976 Metro roll sign preserved someplace?

The black on orange "Dulles Airport" designation I remember spotting was during 1978-79 when I was visiting Washington and using Metro
on occasions...I remember that Metro was having some problem with rollsign synchronization back then - I learned to ride during the days
of the Blue-Orange Lines destination split (New Carrollton-National Airport and Addison Road-Ballston I believe it was) and remember
how the destination change affected these two routes...

I'm sure you remember the colorful and informative "Metro Memo Tabloid" that Metro PR made available to those interested back then...
There was mention in at least one issue where there may be future Metro service extensions - a link to Baltimore was even part of a Q&A...
I recall that Dulles Airport was not part of the original 101 mile system - it was a future extension as it did turn out to be...

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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby smallfire85 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:54 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:SF and SBJ:

Good pictures of early 80s (?) Metro rollsigns...

Does anyone have any original 70s vintage rollsigns from the early Metro days
of the mid to late 1970s?
MACTRAXX


I wish! I'm pretty sure the mentality back then was to keep as modern as possible, so not many would think twice about trashing "obsolete" inventory.

MACTRAXX wrote:One designation I remember spotting once was a black on orange Dulles Airport
designation that for some reason stayed in my mind...Was the original expansion
plan to extend the Orange Line to Dulles after the original 101 mile system was
completed? Is today's Silver Line a better option as I feel it will be?

Remembering the Metro rollsign problems does anyone remember around when
Metro began using the placards with the line name and colored circle in the front
center door window? Were they phased out when dot matrix signs were installed?
Does anyone have any pictures of these and did they get saved anyplace?
MACTRAXX


Unfortunately, the only picture I've found with the placard/rollsign equipped car is in the NTSB report for the 1982 Smithsonian derailment. The whole report is an old-tech scan, and so the features of the photo are barely distinguishable. You can see the "Orange/OR" sign on the front, which sits a little higher than the more modern signs. Car 1028, sister to 1029 which was destroyed, was reequipped as the clearance "feeler" car and still retained a couple of its original curtain signs up to decomissioning. You can see page 17 of the document for the crappy photo: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/RAR8206.pdf

If you count the positions from the first photo to the end, you'll see that that roll has 50 positions. Position 34 is blank, which has been reserved for Dulles from the beginning. The Dulles reading would have most likely been added if the system ever got built that far in the roll's timeline.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby Sand Box John » Tue Nov 01, 2016 11:19 pm

"smallfire85"

If you count the positions from the first photo to the end, you'll see that that roll has 50 positions. Position 34 is blank, which has been reserved for Dulles from the beginning. The Dulles reading would have most likely been added if the system ever got built that far in the roll's timeline.


The position on the roll did not define what destination would display, the bar code strips did. You could put Dulles Airport and the corresponding strip codes anywhere on the roll, set code 34 and the roll would move until the strip scanner found the corresponding strip codes and stop block.

The line at the edge told the scanner that a stop point was coming up, the square next it told the reader where to stop roll, the longer stripes were the codes for that particular sign.

Image

I would love to recreate the art work for the signs. I have the colors, I have the font. what I don't have is the measurements.

Roll width.
Distance between left edge of sign and roll
Distance between right edge of sign and roll
Sign width. height
Sign text height.
Distance between bottom of flat bottom font to bottom of sign.
Strip map font height.
Strip map line width.
Strip map bullet diameter.
Line color bullet diameter.
Distance between bottom of strip map line to bottom of sign.
Distance between square corner font and strip map bullet
Code short strip height, width.
Code long strip height, width.
Code block height, width.
Distance between roll edge and short strip.
Distance between strips and or block.
Distance between interior and exterior signs.
Distance between adjacent signs.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby smallfire85 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:19 am

Sand Box John wrote:
The position on the roll did not define what destination would display, the bar code strips did. You could put Dulles Airport and the corresponding strip codes anywhere on the roll, set code 34 and the roll would move until the strip scanner found the corresponding strip codes and stop block.

The line at the edge told the scanner that a stop point was coming up, the square next it told the reader where to stop roll, the longer stripes were the codes for that particular sign.



You are right, it doesn't matter where the sign is, as long as the "bar code" is correct. I'll see what I can do about those measurements.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby smallfire85 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:26 am

One thing I'm trying to find out is if these rolls were modified any further after any of the new extensions (Like Shady Grove) or the opening of the Yellow Line down to Huntington in 1983 or in anticipation of the Green Line in 1991. Did they just try to keep the 1000 cars off those routes before they updated the signage? Seems pretty difficult to do.
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Re: WMATA 1K Series Rollsign

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:10 pm

SF:

I noted that the pictured rollsign has Huntington as a Blue Line destination as was originally
planned before it was placed on the Yellow Line instead of Franconia-Springfield.

This alone can help to subdate this roll sign into the early 1980s.

I found it surprising that there was little mentions - and probably photographs - of the head end
placards used during the 80s time period of defective roll signs and their replacement with dot
matrix type signs which would turn out to be much more reliable then what they replaced...

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