Solari Board at PHL

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Acela150, Aug 28, 2018.

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  1. Aug 28, 2018 #1

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    Folks,

    It appears that the Solari Board at PHL is in it's last days.

    A reliable source stated that Replacements are in house somewhere.

    GET YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEO!!!!!
     
  2. Aug 28, 2018 #2

    cpotisch

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    I don't know PHL well. What is so important about the Solari board? I've heard it mentioned many times before, but is it special or unique in any way?
     
  3. Aug 28, 2018 #3

    BCL

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    It's a split-flap board. I remember my family had an alarm clock with a split-flap display. If you ever saw Groundhog Day, one (with a radio) was featured prominently.



    I haven't seen it myself. My sole experiences at PHL were a train change on the Keystone and a transfer from SEPTA to NJT. Never went down to see the ground level. The latest board like that I know of was installed at the San Francisco Ferry Building.
     
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  4. Aug 28, 2018 #4

    cpotisch

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    Put your little hands in mind, there ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb...
     
  5. Aug 28, 2018 #5

    DCAKen

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    The NJTransit station at Atlantic City NJ still has a Solari board.
     
  6. Aug 28, 2018 #6

    Mystic River Dragon

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    So does TRE, although I would never suggest anyone take a trip to Trenton for any reason, not even to see a Solari board.

    Oddly enough, because I usually prefer older things to newer ones, I never really took to the Solari board--I prefer the digital displays because they update faster and can contain information on more trains at a time. Plus, the Solari boards at PHL and TRE are right in the middle of foot traffic--as you come in the door at Trenton, and right above the information desk in Philly--so you have to be careful to stay out of people's paths as you're looking up at the board.
     
  7. Aug 28, 2018 #7

    BCL

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    I've got you babe.....

     
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  8. Aug 28, 2018 #8

    BCL

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    The one in the San Francisco Ferry Building is made by Solari.

    https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/Flap_sign_fact-Sheet_02-13-13.pdf

    The company that manufactured the sign is Solari di Udine located in Udine, Italy. Solari di Udine is world renowned as a flap sign maker, has been manufacturing flap signs since the 1940s and is the only company currently manufacturing split-flap displays.

    It might not be accurate that it's the only company making them. I found that there's a small design company in the suburbs of Philly that custom makes them.

    https://www.oatfoundry.com/split-flap/
     
  9. Aug 28, 2018 #9

    crescent-zephyr

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    Seacaucus Junction has them, I think they were installed new when the station was built new about 10 years ago.

    Also.. the Starbucks Roastery Room in Seattle has one, it changes to announce which coffee is currently being roasted. Kinda fun.

    And that brings up an interesting point... why does Starbucks have one? Cause these cool vintage things are quite "hip" now a-days with the Starbucks core audience, which is, young students and young professionals. The same core audience of Apple computer. Companies like Amtrak could do alot to create a "vintage cool" transit system. I'm not talking about vintage like a museum.. they will still want wi-fi, power outlets, and other modern comforts. But they will want them provide in an "I can instagram this and make it look like I'm super cool" enviroment.
     
  10. Aug 28, 2018 #10

    cpotisch

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    When Starbucks has a nicer train departure board than Amtrak...
     
  11. Aug 28, 2018 #11

    PVD

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    The clocks are considered a design classic, and they are available new in a couple of styles and a number of colors, Very expensive.
     
  12. Aug 28, 2018 #12

    PVD

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    They cost a lot of money both to purchase and to maintain, they are much more limited in their capabilities than a good video screen, or even an led generated display. People like them, some of the replacements have been designed either to mimic their appearance or simulate the distinctive sound. Solari is alive and well, but mostly with new technology.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2018
  13. Aug 28, 2018 #13

    crescent-zephyr

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    Now that I think about it, I'm surprised amtrak didn't go with a Solari style digital display?

    Another modern place where you see the split-flaps is at Disney, most of their wait times are shown with a split-flap display unless it's thematically correct to use digital (like in tomorrowland and future world in EPCOT).
     
  14. Aug 28, 2018 #14

    PVD

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    People really like them. There is something comforting about watching the numbers change, even if it's now more likely to be simulated.
     
  15. Aug 29, 2018 #15

    BCL

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    I was pretty young when these things were in pretty much every "modern" alarm clock, and the 7-segment LED display was considered state of the art.

    As for SB (and I'll say I'm not really a fan) they seem to have ordered several of these displays, and they all seem to be from the one company in PA and not specifically Solari.

    I'm wondering if the Nixie tube will be the next step, although that's somewhat impractical except for digits and/or a small number of characters. With a split-flap there can be dozens of flaps, but with a Nixie tube they need to be stacked and once it gets to a dozen it may be impractical.
     
  16. Aug 29, 2018 #16

    Acela150

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    If one looks at the details of the Solari Board in PHL it states that it was built by Solari and has Italy on the board.
     
  17. Aug 29, 2018 #17

    Seaboard92

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    Well when I was on the Canadian there were a lot of people in my generation on board it because it was the vintage cool way to go.
     
  18. Aug 29, 2018 #18

    west point

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    What would be best IMHO would be a combination of both flip and elecronic display boards. That way if one type fails the other can take over. There is no tech that will continue to work indefinitely. Why does everything have to be to one lowest common demoniator ?.
     
  19. Aug 29, 2018 #19

    BCL

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    I was referring to Starbucks ("SB"). If you check the Oat Foundry website, they list work for Starbucks at a coffee plantation in Costa Rica and their roastery in Shanghai. For the Seattle roastery, I can't find anything either way, other than an article that calls it a "Solari board". I'm under the impression that the author was using it as a generic term.
     
  20. Aug 29, 2018 #20

    BCL

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    All the current split-flap boards are as reliant on a solid electronic communication as an all-electronic board. The description I see of them is that they can be controlled via a computer or even a smart phone.

    They can be programmed any number of ways, although I'm thinking that the one at 30th St is simply tied into Amtrak's system.
     
  21. Aug 29, 2018 #21

    railiner

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  22. Aug 29, 2018 #22

    cirdan

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    Oner of the down sides of digital monitor screens is that they become difficult to read in adverse light conditions, for examle when the sun is shining in at an awkward angle..
     
  23. Aug 29, 2018 #23

    cpotisch

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    Depends on what kind of display. Certain LED and OLED screens are still very easy to read, regardless of the lighting and angle of it. I wonder if anyone has every looked into an e-ink departure board, though...
     
  24. Aug 29, 2018 #24

    PVD

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    The "newer" new technology systems can be equipped with dynamic brightness and contrast control, reading the ambient light conditions and adjusting accordingly. That makes a big difference when properly implemented.
     
  25. Aug 29, 2018 #25

    railiner

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    Surprised they haven't thought of "saving money" and having passenger's look up the "board" on some new phone app....never mind...sorry I even suggested it... [​IMG]
     
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