Mini Solari boards on platforms?

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Tio Terry

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Platform Repeater Boards.

Many years ago I was responsible for getting the twice yearly updates done to all the former Southern Regions flap boards. That's supplied, silk screen printed and fitted. I seem to remember that Gatwick had the greatest number of platform repeaters, 3 double sided boards per platform.

Updates cost an absolute fortune and, for some unexplained reason, every seven years the spring update was always much larger than the previous six years. Delivery periods for the flaps was about 9 months - and they always got delayed in customs, they came in wooden boxes, were quite heavy, and were always suspected to be rifles so all had to be opened for inspection - so you had to predict requirements around a year in advance.

Happy memories!
 
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yorksrob

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Platform Repeater Boards.

Many years ago I was responsible for getting the twice yearly updates done to all the former Southern Regions flap boards. That's supplied, silk screen printed and fitted. I seem to remember that Gatwick had the greatest number of platform repeaters, 3 double sided boards per platform.

Updates cost an absolute fortune and, for some unexplained reason, every seven years the spring update was always much larger than the previous six years. Delivery periods for the flaps was about 9 months - and they always got delayed in customs, they came in wooden boxes, were quite heavy, and were always suspected to be rifles so all had to be opened for inspection - so you had to predict requirements around a year in advance.

Happy memories!
I always imagined someone sat at Waterloo with a pile of boards, a ruler and a lot of letraset!
 

ooo

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Platform Repeater Boards.

Many years ago I was responsible for getting the twice yearly updates done to all the former Southern Regions flap boards. That's supplied, silk screen printed and fitted. I seem to remember that Gatwick had the greatest number of platform repeaters, 3 double sided boards per platform.

Updates cost an absolute fortune and, for some unexplained reason, every seven years the spring update was always much larger than the previous six years. Delivery periods for the flaps was about 9 months - and they always got delayed in customs, they came in wooden boxes, were quite heavy, and were always suspected to be rifles so all had to be opened for inspection - so you had to predict requirements around a year in advance.

Happy memories!
How many destinations did you have to do on each board?
 

Tio Terry

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I always imagined someone sat at Waterloo with a pile of boards, a ruler and a lot of letraset!
For the whole of the Southern Region we would often change upwards of 250,000 flaps. That would be some letraset!
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How many destinations did you have to do on each board?
At Gatwick? I cant remember but the old Solari boards had a maximum of 40 displays, one being blank. We had some newer boards ( not at Gatwick) that had 80 flap displays - Victoria was one - so you were limited by the number of displays rather than the number of stations.
 

Tio Terry

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The Digital Boards used now must certainly save a lot of work and money then
Oh yes, but they have their drawbacks. They are not easily visible in some lighting conditions, in particular when the sun shines on them. They only have one colour, with flaps we used to have any colour we wanted and even used the "Rest position" at Waterloo as an advertising display for The Evening Standard and Dewars Whisky, you cant do that with a dot matrix! VDU's suffer from screen burn which reduces clarity and the sound as a board changes used to attract the attention of the waiting masses during times of perturbation. All forms of display have their advantages and disadvantages.
 

ooo

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That is a good point about the various colours and visibility.

Would anyone know if it is possible to get Digital Boards as are used now in different colours?
 

ag51ruk

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I remember seeing split-flap/Solari platform displays on Paddock Wood and Tonbridge stations in the 1990s, as seen in this picture:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Rainham_Station_-_geograph.org.uk_-_215988.jpg

Is there a proper name for these and does anyone have any other photos of this type of display?
Quite a few of the SouthEastern ones were made by a different compant (Krone rather than Solari) - the stations out to Bromley South were Krone kit, as was Sevenoaks (I think) although they worked on the same principle. That picture looks like one of those, and the red panel almost certainly said 'Please listen for announcements' as most of them did at smaller stations at weekends. Of course, there were no announcements either :)

The best thing about them was the rather stern message 'Not this train' which could cover all sorts of possibilities!
 

LAX54

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But SOLARI's were always clear and easy to read, in almost any light or angle, sometimes newer is not always better, but of course it is cheaper, and that is all they worry about
 

ag51ruk

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Could the SOLARIS show all calling points?
Depended on the route and station - there were 1, 2 or 3 flap versions although the 2 flap were most common so not always space to include every station. At somewhere like London Bridge,:the top flap was usually the destination (sometimes with route); and the bottom flap the calling pattern - so from memory it might have read:

DARTFORD
via Bexleyheath

Not calling at St Johns

or

HASTINGS

Fast to Sevenoaks
 
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hassaanhc

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That is a good point about the various colours and visibility.

Would anyone know if it is possible to get Digital Boards as are used now in different colours?
Much rather a full colour LED monitor, one of which has been installed at Twickenham, showing a list of departures and basic calling pattern. Having said that, the new boards SWT have installed at North Sheen are of excellent quality.
 

yorksrob

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Certainly at Ashford (Kent) they managed to show all the station's for the stoppers on all routes.

They even had peculiarities, such as the very rare train to Folkestone Harbour and the 'Maidstone East, Otford, Chiselhurst, London Bridge' which was really only of use when Sevenoaks tunnel was being worked on.
 

b0b

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I remember seeing split-flap/Solari platform displays on Paddock Wood and Tonbridge stations in the 1990s
So glad you brought this up, I remember those boards too ...... loved the sound they made - give me those and the NSE clock .... heaven!
 

acg5324

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I have a Solari panel in my garage. It came from Victoria and was recovered from the skip when the board was replaced. The motor was completely seized by the time I got it and the 20 years of dust, dirt and pigeon s**t hadn't done it any favours. I removed the motor cleaned it up and was able to turn the gears manually to rotate the flaps. I've just fitted a meccano gear and handle to make it much easier to rotate. I'll post photos if anyone is interested.
 

ooo

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I have a Solari panel in my garage. It came from Victoria and was recovered from the skip when the board was replaced. The motor was completely seized by the time I got it and the 20 years of dust, dirt and pigeon s**t hadn't done it any favours. I removed the motor cleaned it up and was able to turn the gears manually to rotate the flaps. I've just fitted a meccano gear and handle to make it much easier to rotate. I'll post photos if anyone is interested.
Please do
 

Hadders

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I used to love the old Solari boards, the one at Waterloo being particularly impressive. Often the flaps would get stuck though displaying an erroneous calling pattern.

The original electronic (plasma screens iirc) were particularly difficult to read during daylight. I seem to remember Waterloo and Paddington were particularly bad and had to be replaced pretty quickly by the newer style LED displays which we have to this day which, to be honest, and pretty was to read even in bright light.

Did Euston ever have a Solari board? I can only ever remember a very primitive electronic display which looks as though it could have been in place since the 1960's rebuild. It was very difficult to read and was replaced by the current board in the early 2000's iirc.
 
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