Keep the Flipping Solari Arrivals/Departures Board in 30th St Station
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Philadelphia's 30th St Station has had a flipping Solari-Brand display board as its centerpiece since the 1970s. Made popular in the early 50s, these boards were installed en masse around the United States and Europe in train stations, airports, and other transit terminals. However, now they are all but extinct in the United States, with New York Pennsylvania Station having gotten rid of theirs in 2014.
The Solari board is not only an amazing relic of a bygone day of rail travel, but a comfort to those waiting in the station as well. Philadelphia locals, commuters, and visitors alike have all come to love the sound the board makes as it flips through the various trains arriving or departing.
Amtrak's reasoning for retiring the board is as follows: 1) It is more costly to maintain than a digital display, and 2) It is running off of 4 computers running Windows 95. While the first point is understandable, the second can be fixed in a jiffy. I'm sure there are plenty of Computer Science majors at Penn and Drexel (whose college of Computer Science is only a block away from the station) would be happy to help update the machinery. As for the cost of operation: would it not be worth it? Would it not be worth the cost just to keep a single Solari board in the country running? It's a piece of history that locals and outsiders alike have come to enjoy. Why not keep it as a nod to once was, rather than give it to a museum (who historically doesn't keep their property in working order because they are "museum pieces" rather than machinery)? After all, Amtrak, if it wasn't for the railroads that built all of this country's infrastructure, you wouldn't exist at all.
Keep this awesome, nostalgic, and rare Solari board running. It's a piece of Philadelphia we just can't afford to lose.
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