Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display screens

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Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display screens

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:56 pm

Amtrak has been planning to replace the 1970s-era split-flap train departure board in the main hall of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station with a new screen. This would save money and upgrade the technology to modern standards.

However, Rep. Brendan Boyle insists that the public loves the split-flap board and is trying to force Amtrak to special-order a "modern" split-flap board.

So instead of leaving Amtrak alone and letting it get a modern display screen, Congress micromanages something that shouldn't be its decision, resulting in investing in outdated technology.

Crazy! It's all on Google.

This is another reason why Amtrak should do whatever it can to be free from having to get funding from Congress.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:10 pm

really you had to start a seperate tread on this ?? did they drop you as a baby ?
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:18 pm

Yes, as this is like John Mica, micromanaging food service, but even more petty.

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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby Jadebenn » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:44 pm

I fail to see what's objectionable about this.

These flip-boards are becoming increasingly hard to find with their replacement by cheaper screens. Evidently, people like the old board and think it has historical value, thus they've petitioned their Congressmen to prevent it's replacement with a screen. Is it wasteful? Maybe. But it's hardly the worst example.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby ryanov » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:17 am

I don’t want to see any more split-flap displays go, really, and that’s not the place I’d cut first by far.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:03 am

Perhaps I’m the contrarian here, but I suspect most people who don’t speak up in favor of replacing the split-flap board simply expect that it will go and don’t see a need to speak up to support that. I like technological improvements (don’t most of us) and in this case see that a digital display is cheaper than a new split-flap board, too. Further, hopefully most of us can agree that Congress should not micro-manage Amtrak. If Amtrak wants a specific thing, Congress should let Amtrak donwhat it wants to the same extent that any other business could do what it wants. If people don’t like it, then Amtrak, not Congress, should deal with it.

So, in short, my concern is larger: Amtrak shouldn’t be micromanaged by Congress.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:38 pm

That critter needs to deal with the shutdown, NOT information Displays! :(
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby east point » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:08 pm

Does this mean you approve of the NYP down grading and condemn Jackie Kennedy's campaign to stop the NYG down grade ?
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby David Benton » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:40 pm

Congress is not managing this, a Congressman is making a point about it.I presume it is in his area,so he is representing his constituency, rightly or wrongly.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby Backshophoss » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:08 am

Unhappy with the change yes, however "flip signs" are not easy to update in general, and require a lot of maintence oversight.
If a screen goes down ,you just swap it out, with solari, it takes time to find and fix the problem.
AS for the "congress critter", there are more pressing problems to deal with then this, just playing to the voters back home.
It's just a comment by that critter, not policy

GCT was panels not single letters, an update required adding/changing panels for destinations cities/towns

There were times when the letters flap motor(s) would fail at NY Penn leaving gaps on destination names until
a tech could get it fixed.

Amtrak want the info screens to be easy to maintain, update at a moments notice!
I can live with the historic Solari boards in a museum setting.
What works well in Europe doesn't always hold up well in the US.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby CComMack » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:21 pm

David Benton wrote:Congress is not managing this, a Congressman is making a point about it.I presume it is in his area, so he is representing his constituency, rightly or wrongly.


Philadelphia is split between a touch more than 2 Congressional districts, whose boundaries have just changed because the previous map was ruled unconstitutional. Boyle's new district is now about a dozen blocks away from 30th Street Station at nearest approach, which is certainly close enough for his constituents to care very deeply.

I live in the district represented by Rep. Dwight Evans, who also represents the station itself. Preserving the old sign is not my top priority, but the generic screens Amtrak is installing at its stations are not legible at the distances required for the 30th Street Main Concourse. Lobbying Amtrak on behalf of his constituents is a perfectly reasonable thing for Rep. Boyle to do, and I would be fine voting for his re-election if I had been placed in his district.

As for having better things to do, Rep. Boyle took up this cause in early December, before the government shutdown and well before his entering the Majority in the House of Representatives. To my knowledge, he has not yet missed a vote w/r/t reopening the government. I do not believe there are facts in evidence to support the accusation that he cannot walk and chew gum at the same time.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby Anthony » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:09 pm

Why don't they donate the old flip-board to a railway museum?
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:29 pm

Better things for Rep. Boyle to do with his time are:

1. Improving the Northeast Corridor generally.
2. Addressing climate change.
3. Addressing poverty.
4. Addressing immigration.
5. Addressing ISIS and Russia.

Once he’s fixed those things, then he can focus on smaller items.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby AmtrakLocomotiveEngineer » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:00 pm

Anthony wrote:Why don't they donate the old flip-board to a railway museum?
It has already been promised to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
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Re: Big Government at its worst: micromanaging display scree

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jan 13, 2019 10:19 pm

Also worth noting that Rep. Boyle is responding to his constituents’ desires. This isn’t his issue.

Unless he’s a closet railfan, of course :P

Either way, this is the kind of stuff representatives do all the time - a group of constituents pressure a rep, who has an intern draft a letter to an agency, business, organization, or individual over minor issues that don’t really warrant their attention. Nothing to do with bloated government whether led by politicians right or left of center. As the saying goes, this is a nothingburger with cheese.
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