Where can I find a split-flap departure board in use, or video/film reference of one?
March 25, 2010 8:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project where I need photo and video reference of a large split-flap display in action, like those old Solari departure boards that used to grace train stations and airports. Where can I still find one in use? High quality video or film references would also be welcome (like if you can think of an old movie where these are featured in action).

I live near the DC-Baltimore corridor, and was planning on going to film the board in Baltimore Penn Station, until I found that they finally ripped it out just a few weeks ago. If you know of another one mid-Atlantic area, that would be most helpful, but I'd be willing to travel a bit if I knew for sure that it were going to still be there.

As for video, the lo-rez YouTube videos that I've found are not clear enough to give me the detail I need, but other online videos might still be helpful.

posted by mboszko to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
I don't know for sure, but I'd bet "The Terminal" has some of these boards.
posted by Marky at 8:19 AM on March 25, 2010

I haven't been there *recently*, and it's not super convenient to Baltimore, but Newark Penn Station in NJ has had one forever. I can't imagine it's been replaced, but I guess you'd want to make a call and see.

Wikipedia says it's still there, but... Wikipedia.
posted by frankdrebin at 8:20 AM on March 25, 2010

Philadelphia 30th St. station has one.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 8:23 AM on March 25, 2010

Make sure you get the sound these things make. Like a huge ticker-tape machine. Taptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptaptap.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 8:24 AM on March 25, 2010

Just in case you're unclear of what I'm looking for, here's some photo reference from Flickr:

Split-flap Displays
posted by mboszko at 8:27 AM on March 25, 2010

Geckwoistmeinauto, are you sure that one's still there? That's decently close. Thanks!

And Marky, I bet you're right. I'll give that a rental.
posted by mboszko at 8:30 AM on March 25, 2010

mbozko: I travel through 30th st fairly regularly, and unless there has been a major overhaul in the last two weeks, it is still there. If you promise to buy me a beer if you come up to observe it in the station bar (which is actually very good), I will go through this afternoon and confirm.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 8:39 AM on March 25, 2010

New Haven has one, unless something has changed since August 2009.
posted by acidic at 8:44 AM on March 25, 2010

Otto Restaurant in NYC has one, don't they? (I haven't been there, just heard about it.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2010

Geckwoistmeinauto, thanks, but I've sent an email out to Amtrak's media relations to inquire. It seems their policy might require me to get permission before I come up and film anyway, so we'll see how that goes.
posted by mboszko at 9:24 AM on March 25, 2010

Silly me, I should have emailed Amtrak media relations straight out. Their reply:

"There are 2 Solari Boards left in the Amtrak system, one at Phila and one at Providence."

I'm also reminded there's a split-flap job board in the opening scenes of The Hudsucker Proxy. I'll have to pull that out tonight and take a look.

Thanks everyone for the replies!
posted by mboszko at 10:00 AM on March 25, 2010

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