split-flap display destination boards

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Just wondering, are they all gone now? I remember the one at euston, which was a masterpiece of 60's technology!

Bit of a shame if they're all gone, as I'm sure they're not really suitable for preservation.
 
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Mike395

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I don't believe any active ones are left in the UK, although IIRC there are a couple of 'preserved' but inactive ones around. Not sure where though :)
 

Yew

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It's a shame, the orange LED screens can be pretty hard to read at times, the old boards are clearer
 

yorksrob

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Yes, I prefered these. In my pre-MP3-player days the flappity flap noise was quite useful for alerting you that something was happenning.
 

QJ

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Along with my work colleagues at the time I operated the Solari board at London Waterloo station for a period at the beginning of my career with BR. They were operated by inserting a suitably punched card into a card reader. The holes in the cards represented the codes that activated the various flaps.

Many a night shift was spent cutting holes in blank cards to represent the changing calling patterns for service alterations the following day. Saturday nights could be particularly fraught with changes caused by rail replacement bus services (these were just as common then as now). Then there was the twice a year ritual of scanning the draft timetables for changes to calling patterns that couldn't be shown using the existing flaps - new flaps having to be ordered in good time for the timetable changes. It was also a challenge for the Solari operators if the service became severely disrupted for whatever reason. Blank cards would be frantically punched to try to match the improvised train services put together by Control, train crew and station supervisors with whatever resources they could muster with little notice before departure.

It was preferred to have a card represent each train though there was an override that allowed time and platform to be manually updated. There was even an early version of Sonia in the solari panel allowing automated annoucements. Thankfully, this facility was not regularly used because it broke down an announcements into sections which caused the announcements to be punctuated by pauses of various lengths -

The train at platform..........................11 is the .......1530....to..........Weymouth calling at ....Southampton and Bournemouth ................where the train will divide. Please travel in the front.........four coaches for................

The Waterloo Solari operating panel was split into a main line side and a Windsor line side in the Supervisors office (underneath the gateline of platform 8). As this was track side of the actual indicator the only way to know if a train was showing incorrectly was if a member of platform staff noticed or it was spotted if a CCTV camera was trained on the Board. It was not uncommon for flaps to stick showing an inappropriate set of station calling points. Also not all the indicators that made up the board had identical flaps so putting a card in the reader and pressing a button on the operators panel that activated an incorrect board could produce some interesting services.

Even more fun would be had if drinks got spilled over the operating desk. The resulting complete failure of the indicator board would require all the flaps to be manually flipped to blank by a man up a ladder until the reason for the short circuit had dried out or the failed component changed. In the meantime the train announcer got rather busy. Changes in the weather from cold to hot and humid and vice versa also caused the board to fail as condensation got into the circuitry. Happy days :D

I thought Waterloo was not replaced until after Liverpool Street but stand corrected if this is not the case.
 
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yorksrob

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Many a night shift was spent cutting holes in blank cards to represent the changing calling patterns for service alterations the following day. Then there was the twice a year ritual of scanning the draft timetables for changes to calling patterns that couldn't be shown using the existing flaps - new flaps having to be ordered in good time for the timetable changes.
I've often wondered how they coped with such changes :)
 

pitdiver

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I used to like the old wooden one at Waterloo and the narrow boards that would be put into brackets above the ticket barriers showing major destinations.
 

PR1Berske

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QJ, that's a great post.

I think for a prank they should introduce a Solari board at Manchester Pic, just to see what the reaction is ;)
 

aformeruser

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I think for a prank they should introduce a Solari board at Manchester Pic, just to see what the reaction is ;)
Why not St Pancras station which has £800 million of investment for redevelopment to revert to an old style board?

Although, the French arriving in London won't see it as a joke.
 

yorksrob

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I seem to remember that at some of the terminals (possibly Vic) they'd attempt to have the train leaving soonest the furthest left on the board. This meant that everytime a train left, all the trains would have to be moved along the board one by one with much noise :D
 

Freightmaster

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I don't believe any active ones are left in the UK, although IIRC there are a couple of 'preserved' but inactive ones around. Not sure where though :)
I'm 90% sure that there is a stack of 'flaps' from one of the old Euston
boards in my loft, which I bought from (the original) Collector's corner!

If anyone is interesting in taking them off my hands,
feel free to make me an offer... 8-)


MARK
 

LE Greys

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I always used to love them, especially the King's Cross one, which once read:
Platform []
27:59 to Leeds
Hull Trains
Calling at
Peterborough
Doncaster
York
Grantham
Newark
Doncaster
Selby

Now a thing of the past, I'm afraid. I was rather hoping the NRM would preserve the York one (maybe even have it continuing to do its job in the Great Hall). Still, the LED ones are generally OK, it's the LCD ones that are hard to read, especially if there is something reflecting off the screen.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I seem to remember that at some of the terminals (possibly Vic) they'd attempt to have the train leaving soonest the furthest left on the board. This meant that everytime a train left, all the trains would have to be moved along the board one by one with much noise :D
I used to love that. :D
 

Harbon 1

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...punctuated by pauses of various lengths -

The train at platform..........................11 is the .......1530....to..........Weymouth calling at ....Southampton and Bournemouth ................where the train will divide. Please travel in the front.........four coaches for................
Well, this at least has stayed the same :lol:

I, sadly, don't ever recall these, the closest being the segment clocks :(
 

Bedpan

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Were the old wooden ones at Waterloo also known as Solari boards. I can remember the operator at the board putting a punch card into a slot and then pulling over a lever so that the wooden slats flipped over showing the stations at which the particular train was calling. He also had a long pole so that he could turn back any slats that were showing the wrong station.

I can't imagine that they were still using punch cards on the more modern ones that had several station names on the same line, so that they kept flipping over until the right place name come up though.
 

Yew

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I suspect not unless they were a product of the manufacturer, Solari di Udine.
It could be a brand that has come to represent all similar devices despite being manufactured by other companies, like sellotape.
 

yorksrob

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Now a thing of the past, I'm afraid. I was rather hoping the NRM would preserve the York one (maybe even have it continuing to do its job in the Great Hall). Still, the LED ones are generally OK, it's the LCD ones that are hard to read, especially if there is something reflecting off the screen.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


I used to love that. :D
:) If the railway heritage committee still exists (or it's successors) I would urge them to preserve the example at Brighton which is still entombed behind the modern lightbulb display.

It would be brilliant. We'd be on one side of the Great Hall and we'd be able to push in the various cards and see and hear the boards changing on the other side of the hall :D

NRM, You know where it exists and you know it makes sense !
 

jon0844

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Why not St Pancras station which has £800 million of investment for redevelopment to revert to an old style board?
At St Pancras for a joke? It would probably be an improvement over the silly stupidly-long screens in The Circle, divided up by operator (which of course all those foreign visitors will know about) and requires you to walk up and down to view!
 

WCML

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There is one at Gare du Nord in Paris. Looks quite good and fits in well with the traditional ambience of the station.
 

Ascot

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I remember my early trips at New St and the large Solari board welcoming you down the escalators from the Pallasades. You always knew if the Cross-City line went up the spout as the constant clack-clacking shivered fear in the commuters!
 

fgwrich

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Along with my work colleagues at the time I operated the Solari board at London Waterloo station for a period at the beginning of my career with BR. They were operated by inserting a suitably punched card into a card reader. The holes in the cards represented the codes that activated the various flaps.

Many a night shift was spent cutting holes in blank cards to represent the changing calling patterns for service alterations the following day. Saturday nights could be particularly fraught with changes caused by rail replacement bus services (these were just as common then as now). Then there was the twice a year ritual of scanning the draft timetables for changes to calling patterns that couldn't be shown using the existing flaps - new flaps having to be ordered in good time for the timetable changes. It was also a challenge for the Solari operators if the service became severely disrupted for whatever reason. Blank cards would be frantically punched to try to match the improvised train services put together by Control, train crew and station supervisors with whatever resources they could muster with little notice before departure.

It was preferred to have a card represent each train though there was an override that allowed time and platform to be manually updated. There was even an early version of Sonia in the solari panel allowing automated annoucements. Thankfully, this facility was not regularly used because it broke down an announcements into sections which caused the announcements to be punctuated by pauses of various lengths -

The train at platform..........................11 is the .......1530....to..........Weymouth calling at ....Southampton and Bournemouth ................where the train will divide. Please travel in the front.........four coaches for................

The Waterloo Solari operating panel was split into a main line side and a Windsor line side in the Supervisors office (underneath the gateline of platform 8). As this was track side of the actual indicator the only way to know if a train was showing incorrectly was if a member of platform staff noticed or it was spotted if a CCTV camera was trained on the Board. It was not uncommon for flaps to stick showing an inappropriate set of station calling points. Also not all the indicators that made up the board had identical flaps so putting a card in the reader and pressing a button on the operators panel that activated an incorrect board could produce some interesting services.

Even more fun would be had if drinks got spilled over the operating desk. The resulting complete failure of the indicator board would require all the flaps to be manually flipped to blank by a man up a ladder until the reason for the short circuit had dried out or the failed component changed. In the meantime the train announcer got rather busy. Changes in the weather from cold to hot and humid and vice versa also caused the board to fail as condensation got into the circuitry. Happy days :D

I thought Waterloo was not replaced until after Liverpool Street but stand corrected if this is not the case.
:lol: Thanks for sharing this, i always wondered how they worked and how they were controlled - and its one sight and sound i miss at London Waterloo now, especially waiting late at night for something like the 23:35 / 00:05 / 01:05 services, that rather erie sound of nothing, then the clicking and flapping of the Solari boards before boarding a (hopefully) 442 home...Happy Days! :)

:) If the railway heritage committee still exists (or it's successors) I would urge them to preserve the example at Brighton which is still entombed behind the modern lightbulb display.

It would be brilliant. We'd be on one side of the Great Hall and we'd be able to push in the various cards and see and hear the boards changing on the other side of the hall :D

NRM, You know where it exists and you know it makes sense !
Yes! Please Please Do NRM! :D Though should we leave it in South Central / South West Trains / Wales & West? branding or return it back to BR / NSE?

- And id love to hear the sound of the Solari boards again, ever since my slightly similar alarm clock died!

Speaking of Solari Boards, anyone remember this? They must have taken some of the ex BR boards to create the TV Advert, as it even included Basingstoke & Coventry on it. (Now i can understand Coventry, as the Enemey are / were from there, but Basingstoke? Thanks, do i take it this is a We'll Live and die in these towns town then? Thanks...) :lol:
 

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