Philly Solari Board Now on Display in Museum

There was much made of the removal of the Solari board from Philadelphia’s William H. Gray III 30th Street Station back in January.

The iconic board, which provided arrival and departure times of Amtrak trains and made a pleasing noise as its flaps spun around each time it was updated, has since been taken to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

At the time of its removal, a Philadelphia company, Oat Foundry, said it could build a modern, replacement flipboard that fulfilled ADA requirements, but Amtrak wasn’t interested.

Amtrak had cited the Solari board’s failure to adhere to ADA standards as one reason why it ws removed.

For the hearing impaired, the Solari board was unable to provide visual updates, which instead were provided by a public address system. That is not a problem with the new digital board that replaced the Solari board.

The passenger carrier also pointed to the board’s age and the difficulty of obtaining replacement parts.

The Solari board, which is named for its Italian manufacturer, was the last of its kind in the Amtrak network when it was turned off on Jan. 26.

Named after the Italian manufacturer that made it, the Solari board is, technically, on loan to the museum.

Amtrak has hired a developer to redesign 30th Street Station and working the Solari board into those plans are under consideration.

For now, the Solari board can be found in the Rolling Stock Hall on Platform 5 West next to a 114-year steam locomotive.

The museum has cleaned it and placed it on a base. In time, the museum plans to add a video screen to the exhibit that will show the Solar board in operation as well as explain its history.

Talks between Amtrak and the museum housing the Solari board there began in 2016, but languished until 2018.

Although the board arrived at the museum in February, it didn’t go on display until late July.

The Solari board will remain at the museum for at least the next three years.

Museum officials have said that if it can’t be incorporated into the 30th Street station redesign, they will be “honored” to keep the Solari board permanently.

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