Mini Solari boards on platforms?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by telstarbox, 5 Aug 2015.

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  1. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

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    Is it a Solari - the original one with 40 flaps - or a Krone with 80 flaps? I have an original 40 flap Solari and a controller to operate it. It was originally installed in my office in Croydon in BR days, the flaps are printed with things like "Coffee", "Do Not Disturb" and the names of my staff at the time. I used it as a bit of fun when wanting to talk to my people and the like. I must get it out of the garage and make it work again, just for fun. Don't think the other half would respond kindly if I installed it above the study door and moved it to Coffee without speaking to her!
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    The majority of flap indicators were Solari, Krone started to be popular because they produced an 80 flap - instead of 40 flap - system but Solari then followed suit. There was a third supplier but I'm struggling to remember their name, it was something like Infoteck or Infotron, they supplied the Kings Cross, Hertford Loop Stations and Hounslow Loop Stations. Then there was Liverpool St which at one time had an Omega system before it was replaced by the sideways on system from Krone as part of the Broadgate redevelopment. Birmingham also had a Solari at one time, the only other one like it in the UK was at Glasgow Airport, and I had to go and buy it for BR after it had been replaced as spares, that was an interesting experience!

    I could also bore you all with a story about why Liverpool St commuters ended up at the wrong stations because the Russians invaded Afghanistan because it affected the Omega system!
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2015
  2. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Euston did have one, although it was replaced with a prototype electronic display in the late 80s I think - like most London terminals it also had the single flap repeaters at the ticket barriers which just showed the time and destination. I've struggled to find any photos (film was expensive back then!) but have found one of part of the Euston board on Flickr from 1981

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/74009/4932723741

    I also found an interesting photo from Birmingham New Street of the display for a Harwich boat train in 1986 - not a selection of destinations you saw in the West Midlands everyday

    http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_07_2012/post-9767-0-49141100-1341356729.jpg

    Credit of course to the owners of those photographs
     
  3. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Member

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    Did they ever have those old flappy board displays up north, such as in Leeds. I always associate them with London terminals.

    I only recall the old dot matrix display at Leeds that used to be above the ticket barriers, looked like the screen from Les Dennis era Family Fortunes.
     
  4. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

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    Well that depends on how quickly you could peek at them flapping past!
     
  5. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    There was a big grey board at Nottingham (fifteen years ago now) which sounds something similar - which I'm eager to get a picture of if anyone has one. I'm interested to know also what was there before it.
     
  6. Andyh82

    Andyh82 Member

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  7. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Last edited: 7 Aug 2015
  8. physics34

    physics34 Established Member

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    Remember Kings Cross's one was on speed. It went like the clappers lterally and when the 1st train departed it did an impressive showing when all the departures moved along one.
     
  9. PFX

    PFX Member

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    This technology did indeed extend further north than London. This is the one formerly in Edinburgh Waverley which I stood watching often enough awaiting a platform number.

    https://www.railscot.co.uk/imageenlarge/imagecomplete.php?id=17662
     
  10. acg5324

    acg5324 Member

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    Its a Solari, it has some rather odd pairings of flaps such as change at Shoreham by Sea for Balcombe! The flaps either side pair up correctly so its not as if a wrong one has been inserted. It also has red coloured flaps for Buffet service and Apologies for. All the stations are Central Division apart from one flap which has Bellingham and Catford on it.

    I like the idea of 'Coffee' and 'do not disturb'.
     
  11. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I'm intrigued as to why a solari indicator for Croydon would have the Catford loop on it :|
     
  12. Tio Terry

    Tio Terry Member

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    I mentioned in a previous post that I had to buy the remnants of the Glasgow Airport system to keep the Birmingham system going.
    On one occasion we had an Engineers Inspection train which was leaving from Platform 1 so I got my guys to equip on display with some of the flaps from the Glasgow system so that it read something like:-

    Special Service
    Invited guests only
    Calling at
    Heathrow
    Bermuda
    Paris
    Frankfurt

    Not sure it was that order but something like it.

    Our Engineer laughed but my immediate boss didn't see the funny side of it, got a right rollicking!
     
  13. jamesst

    jamesst Member

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    I'm pretty sure Merseyrail had the platform solari boards on the underground in the early years of the Liverpool loop, maybe someone here has a picture of them?
     
  14. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I had a visit to the Solari control room at Waterloo as a graduate trainee in 1988. It was all controlled by punched cards and due to the maximum number of flaps each one could have, not all the displays had the same set of stations on them. If you put a card in the slot for a display it didn't apply it you ended up with some very ridiculous calling patterns!
     
  15. GatwickDepress

    GatwickDepress Established Member

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    Were there any intermediate technology between finger boards and their replacement by mini-Solari boards?
     
  16. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Not that I recall - and many stations used both for a time (South Eastern stations on the Dartford lines got Solari indicators on the London bound platform as part of the London Bridge re signalling, along with the very impressive Solaris on the platforms at Dartford itself, but most kept fingerboards on the down platform. Many of the finger board slots are still there, long after the Solaris have gone (was looking at the ond at Bexleyheath last weekend and wondering how many different colours of paint it had received over the years!)

    Fingerboards survived at stations for a long time - Worcester Park was still using them in the mid 90s
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  17. BurtonM

    BurtonM Member

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    The Netherlands has seemingly only changed away from flapperboards to LCD screens in the past couple of years - I visited in 2013 and 14 and there were notable differences all round. The screens retain a similar layout to the flap board and are very easy to read.
    I have fond memories of watching the flapperboard in London Victoria in the early 2000s.

    Quite frankly I wish orange LEDs didn't exist. I'm sick of seeing them absolutely everywhere.
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Afraid not, but I can confirm this is the case - they were 2-field ones showing 1st and 2nd destinations only, though 2nd was rarely actually used and mostly remained blank.

    These were then replaced with the ill-fated LED Modulex ones which never worked properly, which were in turn replaced with the standard orange LED ones there now.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Tedious they may be, but they are extremely practical.
     
  19. Beebman

    Beebman Member

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    Following the BedPan electrification, St Albans had indicators with a list of calling points which were backlit and the appropriate set of stations were illuminated as required. In bright daylight it was often just possible to read the unlit stations and I remember that the Down Main platform had Leeds and Carlisle amongst the available names. Never saw them illuminated though!
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
  20. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    Looks just like the one that used to sit above platforms 5 & 6 at Inverness:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Inverness_Station_3.jpg

    It had more pixels stuck at green than working ones when it was eventually replaced but it does remind me of my youth somewhat!
     
  21. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    I remember seeing at Watford Junction (probably mid-70s) a rather Heath Robinson arrangement of light bulbs that illuminated for different DC lines destinations. Even at that time it was out of use, probably because even then practically all of them went to Euston and as a 10-year-old I was rather surprised to see obscure destinations such as Broad Street.
     
  22. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Didn't the peak trains that called at Primrose Hill go from Watford Junction to Broad Street into the 80s?

    That style of next train indicator is still in use at Earls Court tube station, or was until very recently- no idea how it has survived this long

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl%27s_Court_tube_station#/media/File:EarlsCourtTube_TrainIndicators.jpg
     
  23. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Another planet...
  24. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Earls Court and many of the former indicators on the Underground are/were glass plates backlit as per the ones mentioned on Thameslink. The Watford one was simply a load of lightbulbs fixed on a board. Yes there were still a few trains to Broad Street at time, probably peak only, just that I didn't know about them.
     
  25. Springs Branch

    Springs Branch Member

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    This thread nudged my memory of new train departures boards which were installed at London Liverpool Street at an early stage of the 1980s refurbishment.

    As I recall, all trains & stops on routes via Stratford were shown in one colour, those going via Hackney Downs a second colour. I think the colours were pale green and a lilac purple, but I do remember the contrast was poor and it was difficult to read what any of the displays said, even as a young guy with good eyesight back then.

    Does anyone remember whether these were multi-coloured Solari flaps or some early generation of electronic display? And did that particular colour-coded system last very long?
     
  26. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Ah - didn't realise it was quite that primitive!

    I looked up the Broad Street service, looks like two trains per day in each direction survived until 1986.
     
  27. Ianigsy

    Ianigsy Member

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    No, but the one on the northbound platform at Moorfields always used to intrigue me when going to visit family in the Aintree/Fazakerley area. It was clearly designed to last and featured destinations such as Headbolt Lane, Preston and Wigan Wallgate. I think the Wirral Line ones had Ellesmere Port and Chester (and possibly Helsby) well before electric services began. And then there was the one on the eastbound platform at Hamilton Square, which never read anything other than "Liverpool Loop"!

    I can also remember some of the ones above the platform entrances at Euston having destinations such as Barrow and Kilmarnock which hadn't had direct services or portions from Euston for a few years (this would be around 1980). What the LCD displays don't have, however, is the auditory cue from a full-size Solari display turning over- it used to be quite fun when staying with my aunt in Surrey to watch the board at Waterloo for anything calling at Ewell West, particularly as that line seemed to have a different peak timetable every year so you didn't know whether you were looking for Epsom, Dorking, Effingham Junction, Guildford or Horsham on the top line!
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They also had Ormskirk (via Orrell Park) in use, I think the other option that never came about was Ormskirk (via Ford).

    For some reason when I was a kid the blank one (which on the Ormskirk bound platform at Central had a slightly damaged flap) used to freak me out. No idea why.
     
  29. SpacePhoenix

    SpacePhoenix Established Member

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    I remember travvelling home from Waterloo many years ago and there was always the details for a train changing on the Solari there as it was peaktime. Would the Waterloo one have been the biggest anywhere in the UK?
     
  30. M28361M

    M28361M Member

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    Here's a picture I found on Flickr of Moorfields circa 1981, on which you can just about make out the Solari board. https://flic.kr/p/btK4uL

    I seem to remember the loop platform at James Street only had a one-field display, which was more or less permanently set to "Loop 3 Car" of course.

    And the orange LED ones are now being replaced with a newer-style LED display, which uses what now seems to be the standard 3-line layout for most National Rail stations:

    I do remember one time waiting at Liverpool Central many years ago, when the Solari board flipped round and stopped at "Hough Green", much to the bemusement of everyone waiting on the platform.
     
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