So Long Solari

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So Long Solari

Postby AlexC » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:20 pm

This is probably more an Amtrak story, but the Solari board at 30th Street Station is going away.
More than two years after news broke that Amtrak would replace the iconic departures board at 30th Street Station, the move looks like it’s finally about to happen.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission expects to take ownership of the world-famous Solari board as soon as January 2019. The model, which flips individual panels each time a train’s status is updated, providing that classic “clicking” sound familiar to travelers around the globe, is considered an antique.

An official agreement hasn’t yet been signed, so the transfer date is subject to change. But Howard Pollman, spokesperson for the historical commission, is pretty certain he’ll receive the board in late January or early February.

At that point, the sign will move 60 miles to its new home: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby mcgrath618 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:01 pm

Worst news of the day.
Maybe its replacement will be another Solari? Please?
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby JeffK » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:05 pm

Sad news. Yeah, I know the Solari is obsolete, but hearing its clickclickclick is a lot like remembering the "comfort" sounds of a typewriter or other long-familiar (albeit antique) technology. But at least it’s getting a good home in a great museum.

I wonder if its replacement is going to have some indication when it updates. Every time the Solari clicks over it acts like an alarm clock. Hmmm... maybe the new one will send a text or tweet :-D
Requiem for it's/its, your/you're, than/then, less/fewer. They were once such nice words with such different meanings...
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby Nasadowsk » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:00 pm

The one in Newark NJ has a speaker that makes a simulated clicking noise. Kinda like how the local all news station (1010 WINS) patches in the teletype noise in the background..
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby mcgrath618 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:43 pm

https://www.change.org/p/amtrak-keep-th ... e_petition
Here's a change.org petition to keep it.
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby ChesterValley » Fri Nov 30, 2018 12:09 pm

The Scheduled 11:30 R5 Local to Malvern Next To Arrive on track 4 Section B
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:11 pm

No surprise Solari still sells parts and repairs for them - you see them all over Europe. I think the theory that Amtrak wants to sell advertising space is probably right. Or they just have new toy syndrome...
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby liftedjeep » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:05 pm

The Solari Board's final Christmas at 30th St Station:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=5055335

Ben
Check out my photo collection! : http://bkranefeld.rrpicturearchives.net
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Re: So Long 30th Street Station-PHL Solari Board (?)

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:19 am

Everyone:

The current Solari board at 30th Street Station dates from the early 1980s - when the board was
either extensively updated or outright replaced the original Penn Central board first installed back
in the early 1970s. Functions such as the single letter message lines and the digital clock at the
top replacing the earlier small incandescent bulb digital clock were changes that were made.

What I found interesting is how much press and interest that this proposed change has brought
about locally mostly in favor of keeping the current board in use. An Inquirer opinion:
http://www.2philly.com/real-estate/inga ... 81206.html

I consider this situation a "win-win" for this board since it will at least be preserved at RM of PA.
They should be congratulated by our Forum members for this good offer.

I have followed the Solari Board technology for many years and remember the first installation at
NYP dating from 1968 which was much simpler in comparison from my younger years. That board
was replaced by a larger Solari board in a renovation project during the second half of the 1980s
and subsequently replaced with a LED digital board in 2000.

Solari's web site: http://www.solari.it

AC: This topic should at least be cross posted in the Amtrak Forum for more exposure since this
is primarily an Amtrak as well as Philadelphia subject...MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: So Long 30th Street Station-PHL Solari Board (?)

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:00 am

Everyone:

After a somewhat extensive search I was able to find pictures of the previous Solari board that
was used at 30th Street Station before the major renovation project (1988-1991) upgrading the
interior and exterior of the Station. What I unfortunately could not find was information about
previous work performed over the five year period 1983-1987 in which other changes were made.

There was an extensive renovation work project done at 30th Street during the years 1988-1991.
Other work was performed during the previously described five year period from 1983 to 1987.
This included cleaning of the walls and ceilings, lowering to the ground each chandelier to install
brighter bulbs and clean the glass; and opening the entire south area (the current Food Court) to
to the public - which was previously closed except the southwest entrance which had barricades
of wood on its east side. There were concessions on the main floor - the largest being a PSFS
Bank branch in the SW corner - which all changed with the interior renovation.

Under the SEPTA RRD track area was once a bowling alley - which was closed at some point in the
early to middle 1980s and was the location of the infamous fire that destroyed it in December 1991.

Thanks to the Amtrak History Archives I was able to find two 1979 30th Street Station interior
photographs - one showing the previous Solari board looking southeast along with the quad face
digital clock above and the three box light-up Train Information sign over the Desk counter.
There is an August 1976 dated interior photo again showing the previous Solari board that is
listed along with the Wikipedia station information.

https://history.amtrak.com/archives/inf ... ation-1979
https://history.amtrak.com/archives/mai ... ation-1979
https://history.amtrak.com/blogs/blog/a ... et-station
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/30th_Street_Station

I recall that the NRHS National Library had a considerable collection of Amtrak materials which
included ephemera and publications (Amtrak News-an employee magazine/newsletter from the
70s and 80s was a good example) that could have helped find out more about when 30th Street
Station improvements were completed. If it were still available (closed March 2008) I could have
pulled out these contents to search further for more information along with Penn Central and PRR
archived items from the collection for before the Amtrak years.

The question that I have about the Solari board(s) is: Was the old board turned from north-south
to east-west along with an updating of board components such as the bottom message lines or is
the current board an outright replacement of the older board?

MACTRAXX
Last edited by MACTRAXX on Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:51 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby shadyjay » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:44 am

Found a good shot of the old board from 1979 on Amtrak's history site:

https://history.amtrak.com/archives/inf ... ation-1979
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Re: So Long 30th Street Station-PHL Solari Board (?)

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:49 am

shadyjay wrote:Found a good shot of the old board from 1979 on Amtrak's history site:

https://history.amtrak.com/archives/inf ... ation-1979

SJ: See my updated photo information above...it took time to find and post this one...

Everyone:

I now realize that the current PHL Solari Board is not as old as I had originally had thought in my
first post above - it is about 30 or so years old installed during the large-scale renovation program
during the second half of the 1980s. The current board likely did outright replace the earlier board.

The early 1970's board contained 10 lines of train information compared to the current board which
has 7 lines of train information and two lines of message capability. One major difference between
the two boards was the train name or service type portion - on the older board the flap cylinder box
containing names and services had a finite amount of text space - the current board with its single
letter/number text capability all that was needed was to program the name into the controller for
use meaning the newer board had far more information flexibility.

Other stations had updated Solari boards installed during the second half of the 1980s - one that
comes to mind is Baltimore Penn Station which has a Solari board similar to the 30th Street board.

The best outcome about this subject is that the current 30th Street Station Solari Board is going
to preservation at the very least - I wonder what exactly did happen to the older board during the
renovation project...One example I remember since I happened to be in NYP around the time the
1968 Solari boards around the Station were replaced - Penn Station had four boards total: two at
the information desk (in front of the old curved ticket office windows) for arrival and departure;
The two sided departure board in the main waiting room area (the same location where the two
subsequent updated boards were installed) and another arrival board down in the arriving area
concourse. The older 1968 board remains were trashed - any pieces that may have been saved
were rescued from the dumpster before it was hauled away during the NYP 80s renovation...

MACTRAXX
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby glennk419 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:47 pm

Glenn
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby east point » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:17 pm

My only concerns are getting spare parts ? Also a very reliable interface from the new system to the board ?
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Re: So Long Solari

Postby glennk419 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:58 pm

east point wrote:My only concerns are getting spare parts ? Also a very reliable interface from the new system to the board ?


I don't think the parts are the concern. These boards are still pretty common in Europe. I think the old Windows interface on the PC controlling the board is the issue.
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