Amtrak's split-flap schedule board may not depart 30th Street Station after all

Steve Tawa
December 11, 2018 - 12:46 pm
The days are numbered for 30th Street Station's beloved split-flap schedule board.

Dan Wing/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Amtrak's classic split-flap board at 30th Street Station may not be destined for the scrap heap just yet. 

Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson told Rep. Brendan Boyle during a lengthy discussion that the passenger railroad service may reconsider its plan to replace it with a modern, digital screen.

Anderson assured Boyle that the company will "re-examine" the issue in January.

"He was going to personally make sure that they looked at figuring out a way that they could still update and upgrade the technology of the system, while at the same time preserving the sign," added Boyle. 

Part of the ambiance, he said, of walking through 30th Street Station is the comforting click-clack of the flaps showing train schedules.

"It would be such a tragedy to see that scrapped all in the name of modernity," he said.

RELATED: SEPTA receives $15 million federal grant for 30th Street Station improvements

More than two years ago, Amtrak announced it would replace the aging Solari board — one of the last of its kind in use — with a more modern digital board.

"Before, it was sounding like a done deal. It's definitely not a done deal," said Boyle.

While Anderson told him there were no guarantees, Boyle reiterated, he did say he would explore ways to save the split-flap board and "update and upgrade the technology of the system while at the same time preserving the sign."

"I made the point that removing the sign was an example of the saying 'penny wise and pound foolish' — that Amtrak would lose so much goodwill by removing the sign, that whatever money you save was not worth it. He remarked it's more expensive to get rid of it," he said, "that the upgrade was the result of customer surveys indicating that travelers want to get 'real time data.' "

Boyle expects to have a followup conversation after the holidays on how best to incorporate the split-flap board into an upgrade.