PHILADELPHIA, PA - UPDATE: After posting this story in October of 2016, we've been wondering when the Solari board would be replaced. Well, wonder no more - on Friday Amtrak announced the board will be replaced with a digital board in January of 2019.
Philadelphia's iconic departure board at 30th Street Station will soon be replaced.
Amtrak currently has a project underway to improve the passenger information displays (PIDs) at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.
The idea is to improve the passenger experience through more dynamic, easier to read and strategically located information points throughout the concourse.
For decades, the Solari board, like the trains that run below it, has run its course. The historic board is now in disrepair and before it creates a problem for commuters, Amtrak will be covering its tracks and upgrading the board to a digital model.
Mike Tolbert works for Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communications and said, "There are also ADA benefits as the audio and visual information will be synchronized. The current Solari board at 30th Street Station is obsolete and replacement parts can be difficult to find. The new PIDs are still in the design phase and a timeline for replacement has not been determined."
Max Goldberg is the director of Five Five Collective and said he wanted to make a short film to showcase the board's beauty. "I mean this is a beautiful station. The architecture is amazing, the acoustics are amazing and everything sounds kind of dreamy in here; and you walk in and despite all of the architecture the focal point of this whole thing is that board. Everyone you can see right now, everyone is just standing around it looking at it, listening to the sound it makes echoing around all of the walls; it's kind of magical," said Goldberg. "I feel like people sort of over look how complicated it really is. I feel like there's a lot of moving parts. It makes a lot of noise and i just wanted to film it in a way that highlights that."
While the timeline for the new boards has not been released, some in Philly hope the old Solari board sticks around after it comes down.
Goldberg told PHL17, "I hope it ends up in a museum! I really think it belongs in one."