MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby WickedPissah » Sat Aug 04, 2012 5:31 pm

The MTBAgifts program is run by two railfans, myself and my brother. MBTAgifts.com currently offers over a thousand product variations. Sometimes mistakes happen. We are proactive and will gladly take any feedback on errors found on our site. As a fellow railfan, I really want the MBTAgifts store to stand up well to other railfans, who are respectively, our most critical customers.

SM89 wrote:I was just looking at the reproduction station signs. So many mistakes....

It should be "Malden Center" not "Malden"
Spelling mistake: Mishawm
No such station "Melrose"
It's signed "Airport Station", not "Airport"
And all of the commuter rail signs have the newer brighter purple even though most of them have the dark purple in real life.
I could go on...

If I were going to pay $300 for a sign, I'd want it to be realistic, though it does say you can customize, which would address most of these issues.


We're not that bad are we? I fixed the following errors on the website: Mishawum and Malden Center.

Unfortunately Airport and Melrose represent station names that are too long for our 5' signs. The font size would be reduced too much for what we think is visually appealing. The compromise is to offer Airport and Melrose. These aren't mistakes, but a way to offer these stations within the limits of the reproduction sign size. As for the color, we are contractually obligated to use the official PMS colors as provided by the MBTA.

3rdrail wrote:Look at the $1,000 "Park St." sign that I believe to be a reproduction decoration, possibly from a former southern restaurant ! That style sign never was abbreviated at Park. (I have notified the owners months ago.)


OK Paul. I've met you in person and I'm a bit insulted that you think I would sell an "authentic sign" that is not authentic. To say we are selling some knock-off from a southern restaurant is extreme. This sign dates from the MTA days of Park Street printed by Baltimore Enamel. Below is a photograph of this style sign in Park Street station from the mid to late 50s, as sourced from MIT.

Link to the PARK ST station sign online: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mit-librar ... otostream/

All feedback is welcome! Feel free to email us directly with comments so we can fix errors faster.
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Park Street Station Sign
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:35 pm

WickedPissah wrote:
OK Paul. I've met you in person and I'm a bit insulted that you think I would sell an "authentic sign" that is not authentic. To say we are selling some knock-off from a southern restaurant is extreme. This sign dates from the MTA days of Park Street printed by Baltimore Enamel. Below is a photograph of this style sign in Park Street station from the mid to late 50s, as sourced from MIT.

Oh "wicked" one: I am truely amazed and I am hereby offering a very genuine retraction and apology as you do have documentation that such a sign existed...however, in my own defense as you will recall; (1) I have never seen a photograph of any sign at Park Street Station abbreviated until seeing the one that you have just produced, (2) at the time of your inquiry to me, you offered as photographic proof another photograph of what you maintained showed "Park St." as abbreviated. As I informed you at the time, I believed that an upright column support and collector's booth blocked the "reet" in "Street" in the photo and as such, did not constitute proof, (3) the sign was in fact up for sale through your store during this period of uncertainty prior to this MIT photographic revelation for a price considerably higher than $1,000, (4) a rather sizeable series of mistakes in the advertising of your items makes it obvious that many of these items are not researched thoroughly, if at all (I did offer to help you correct the mistakes for free when I visited your store months ago). Just to name four examples > MTA at Hough's Neck ? Streetcars from Summer via the Fish Pier to the Army Base ? Trackless trolleys in Wakefield and North Reading ? Even the "Park St." "baked enamel on steel" sign (it's actually known as a porcelain-enamel sign) is advertised as coming from the "MTA Rapid Transit, subway or elevated on either Red or Green Line". There was no such thing as color coding in the MTA era nor is there any documentation that I have seen that this sign existed outside the MTA (Surface Car Line) Park Street Station, and (5) a "Park Street" restaurant down south which had folded just prior to this time period, appeared to have been designed as a Park Street Station simulation, and very likely sold off it's props in liquidation.

Frankly, I never thought that you were purposefully trying to decieve but I do think that you are in over your head. I too am a bit insulted that after doing this work for you upon your request and for no charge, that you did not have the courtesy to merely call me and tell me of the find from MIT. In any event, no harm no foul, I'm glad that this was resolved and that your sign is legit. I might add that I believe that your price is warranted and that both the sign and the photograph are exceedingly rare. You are unlikely to see either one again, owing I believe to the fact that the sign may have been up for only a short period of time which might explain it's relatively pristine condition.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby djimpact1 » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:04 pm

shawnp wrote:I picked up one of the Green line rollsign fragments that Ward Maps has on mbtagifts.com to hang up in my office. Now I'm trying to figure out how to frame/hang it. It's an odd size (39'x21') and I hopefully can maybe backlight it somehow.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to hang a rollsign piece?

I found some custom frames online for about $85 (with shipping) and Ward Maps sells aluminum hanger bars for about $75. I'm considering seeing what a framing shop would cost. I'm not quite sure what to do. Advice?


It's a matter of what you're willing to spend, in relation to what kind of effort you want to put forth. I have a few rollsign fragments that I also wanted to display in my basement, while having them backlit with the option to change destinations. It seemed like it wouldn't be worthwhile to hold out while waiting for a formal metal housing unit, while not wanting to pay a (likely) high price for it. I decided to build one.

I used some plywood, a whitewood pine wood plank, a couple of dowels, light black paint (to keep the natural wood pattern showing), a couple of brackets, and a frame implemented for the viewing window (purchased from a craft store). I probably spent $45 on all supplies. (I didn't mention/include the obvious basic flourescent bulb unit, which can be bought @ any home improvement store. I thankfully had a spare plug-in unit lying around). About 4 hours & a few screws later, I am pleased with my own personal rollsign box. (See below pics, taken in my workshop)

My advice...if you have the time, spend the money and build one yourself. You'll take pride in the finished product, and you'll have it a lot quicker (and likely cheaper) than waiting for a formal housing to be made available, for less than $500, regardless of the source of it.

(On a side note, the Ward Maps/MBTAgifts store is an awesome place to purchase decommissioned items. The brothers have always been good to me in respect to what I'm looking to purchase while staying within my budget. Over the past couple of years, I've bought a few sign panels from Copley, a Science Park/West End 2-piece sign panel set, rollsign segments, magnets, LRV coasters, a few ornaments, DVDs & likely more which isn't coming to mind right now. Great place to spend any extra $ you might have.)
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rollsign3.jpg
rollsign3.jpg (92.05 KiB) Viewed 833 times
rollsign2.jpg
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby WickedPissah » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:38 pm

djimpact1, Thank you for the kind words! Your business is very appreciated. Please feel free to ask for me or Steven and say hi the next time you're in. Or perhaps I already know you? I don't reconize your screen name. Your custom rollsign case is great! I'm impressed. I have a couple rollsigns (big surprise) hanging in my home. I rather like the idea of rolling one up in a case like yours. The original cases are often not that great for home display.



Paul...

3rdrail wrote:a rather sizeable series of mistakes in the advertising of your items makes it obvious that many of these items are not researched thoroughly, if at all (I did offer to help you correct the mistakes for free when I visited your store months ago). Just to name four examples > MTA at Hough's Neck ? Streetcars from Summer via the Fish Pier to the Army Base ? Trackless trolleys in Wakefield and North Reading ? Even the "Park St." "baked enamel on steel" sign (it's actually known as a porcelain-enamel sign) is advertised as coming from the "MTA Rapid Transit, subway or elevated on either Red or Green Line". There was no such thing as color coding in the MTA era nor is there any documentation that I have seen that this sign existed outside the MTA (Surface Car Line) Park Street Station, and (5) a "Park Street" restaurant down south which had folded just prior to this time period, appeared to have been designed as a Park Street Station simulation, and very likely sold off it's props in liquidation.

Frankly, I never thought that you were purposefully trying to decieve but I do think that you are in over your head. I too am a bit insulted that after doing this work for you upon your request and for no charge, that you did not have the courtesy to merely call me and tell me of the find from MIT. In any event, no harm no foul, I'm glad that this was resolved and that your sign is legit. I might add that I believe that your price is warranted and that both the sign and the photograph are exceedingly rare. You are unlikely to see either one again, owing I believe to the fact that the sign may have been up for only a short period of time which might explain it's relatively pristine condition.


Hi Paul. Thank you for the apology and for pointing out other questions about the website items. Most of what you referenced are listed on WardMaps.com. I don't want this thread to run off topic from the MBTAgifts online store, but your concerns should be addressed.

3rdrail wrote:MTA at Hough's Neck ?

You're right. This should have been the Eastern Mass Street Railway. The rollsign has been updated.

3rdrail wrote:Streetcars from Summer via the Fish Pier to the Army Base ?

Our listing is correct. According to page 34 of Streetcar Lines of the Hub, the MTA ran streetcars here in the 40s.

3rdrail wrote:Trackless trolleys in Wakefield and North Reading ?

Our listing is correct. There are no trackless routes in Wakefiled and North Reading. We have a single category for all bus types (bus, trackless trolley, BRT, etc) on our website. The title is the same for all bus and trackless vehicles.

3rdrail wrote:Even the "Park St." "baked enamel on steel" sign (it's actually known as a porcelain-enamel sign) is advertised as coming from the "MTA Rapid Transit, subway or elevated on either Red or Green Line". There was no such thing as color coding in the MTA era nor is there any documentation that I have seen that this sign existed outside the MTA (Surface Car Line) Park Street Station,


If you want to get picky, isn't it actually vitreous enamel? We do not advetrise the sign as coming from the "subway or eleveated on the Red or Green line". Where did you see that? I am fully aware the MBTA was created in 1964 and the MTA didn't have line colors. There is a general paragraph of text that accompanies all authentic signs. This paragraph must be the same language and valid for any authentic sign. Perhaps this is where you think you saw that? On WardMaps.com the Park St sign is tied to the keywords "Green Line" and "Red Line". Our customers often search for signs based on the MBTA colors. This is simply there to assist in searches. Just because the line wasn't green yet, doesn't mean people won't search for green to find it. We run into a similar issue with our antique maps. Customers often search for current geography.

3rdrail wrote:I do think that you are in over your head

Some days I do feel overwhelmed, but in a good way. We're wicked busy. In this economy, that's fantastic. We haven't railfan geeks our entire lives, but we're getting there. We may list something partially incorreclty here or there, but we always strive to get it right and correct things immediately. Thanks again for pointing out the MTA Houghs Neck sign.

To try and get back on topic of the MBTAgifts online store, we're photographing all of the blue line items and plan to have them listed online by the end of the month.

Behind the scenes, the entire program is a success for the T. The MBTA has been contacted by other transit agencies in the US and Canada about the merchandise program. The T, together with WardMaps, has made the MBTAgifts store a successful model that other agencies want to follow.

Wooden toy trains available this fall!
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:04 pm

Question for you guys: Since the Blue Line signs have far fewer destinations (Bowdoin, Wonderland, Orient Heights(?) and NOT IN SERVICE), is it safe to say that at least SOME of them will be sold in a full roll rather than cut up? Thanks!
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby 3rdrail » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:22 am

WickedPissah wrote: Most of what you referenced are listed on WardMaps.com. I don't want this thread to run off topic from the MBTAgifts online store, but your concerns should be addressed.

These items run under the banner of Ward Maps and if I am not mistaken, are stored at, and may be sold and picked up at your store. Additionally, it appears as if the copy is made up by yourself and your brother.

3rdrail wrote:MTA at Hough's Neck ?

WickedPissah wrote:You're right. This should have been the Eastern Mass Street Railway. The rollsign has been updated.

Streetcar company riots would have ensued.

3rdrail wrote:Streetcars from Summer via the Fish Pier to the Army Base ?

WickedPissah wrote:Our listing is correct. According to page 34 of Streetcar Lines of the Hub, the MTA ran streetcars here in the 40s.

Your listing is not correct. It is not the routing that is incorrect, it is the fact that the rollsign includes the "Fish Pier" and is listed as from a "streetcar". The Massachusetts Railroad Commission and Boston City Council approved the rights to the Bay State Street Railway Co. and Boston and Worcester Air Line to run "Trolley Freight and Express Service" within the City of Boston. An agreement was later made by which BERy laid rail down connecting with Summer St. (and the street railway network) to the D St. Viaduct, to Viaduct Ramp, and onto Northern Ave. to just outside the Fish Pier, by which B&W and BSStRy used to pick up loads of fish in their trolley freight enterprise. There never was a passenger routing via streetcar to the Fish Pier. What we know by seeing "Fish Pier" on the rollsign then is that this rollsign came from a bus. Aside from the basic fact that it is just in error, the problem here is that an item from a streetcar generally denotes a higher price tag than does a bus of equal era. I would not want to see a buyer get stung, nor a complaint of "false advertising" brought upon yourselves for such a mistake. Like it or not, you are selling antiques, are therefore "antique dealers", and are supposed to know what you are selling.

3rdrail wrote:Trackless trolleys in Wakefield and North Reading ?

WickedPissah wrote:Our listing is correct. There are no trackless routes in Wakefiled and North Reading. We have a single category for all bus types (bus, trackless trolley, BRT, etc) on our website. The title is the same for all bus and trackless vehicles.

I have a similiar problem with this as the example above it. A "one size fits all" approach just doesn't cut it with antique dealers selling articles of $1,000.00 and beyond. Even if one daughter sees your description and buys a pricey rollsign for her retired trackless operator dad from this listing, that's wrong. Some people will believe what you are telling them whether it's a mistake or otherwise.

3rdrail wrote:Even the "Park St." "baked enamel on steel" sign (it's actually known as a porcelain-enamel sign) is advertised as coming from the "MTA Rapid Transit, subway or elevated on either Red or Green Line". There was no such thing as color coding in the MTA era nor is there any documentation that I have seen that this sign existed outside the MTA (Surface Car Line) Park Street Station,


WickedPissah wrote:If you want to get picky, isn't it actually vitreous enamel? We do not advetrise the sign as coming from the "subway or eleveated on the Red or Green line". Where did you see that? I am fully aware the MBTA was created in 1964 and the MTA didn't have line colors. There is a general paragraph of text that accompanies all authentic signs. This paragraph must be the same language and valid for any authentic sign. Perhaps this is where you think you saw that? On WardMaps.com the Park St sign is tied to the keywords "Green Line" and "Red Line". Our customers often search for signs based on the MBTA colors. This is simply there to assist in searches. Just because the line wasn't green yet, doesn't mean people won't search for green to find it. We run into a similar issue with our antique maps. Customers often search for current geography.


I have the same problem with this as I have answered above. You guys are supposed to not be catering to the lowest denominator but instead, educating and instructing. I wouldn't expect to find a daVinci listed in a museum guide as "from the land of Chef Boyardee". And no, the appropriate title, as used by collectors for that type of sign, is "Porcelain-Enamel Sign".

3rdrail wrote:I do think that you are in over your head

WickedPissah wrote:Some days I do feel overwhelmed, but in a good way. We're wicked busy. In this economy, that's fantastic. We haven't railfan geeks our entire lives, but we're getting there. We may list something partially incorreclty here or there, but we always strive to get it right and correct things immediately. Thanks again for pointing out the MTA Houghs Neck sign.

Enough said.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:46 pm

I wasn't going to say anything the first time, but since it happened again: wow, some people LOVE to nitpick!!!
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby jr145 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:02 pm

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:I wasn't going to say anything the first time, but since it happened again: wow, some people LOVE to nitpick!!!




Ding ding ding, we have a winner.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:11 pm

jr145 wrote:
CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:I wasn't going to say anything the first time, but since it happened again: wow, some people LOVE to nitpick!!!




Ding ding ding, we have a winner.

I typed up a lengthy, essay-like response detailing why their descriptions of the items were, in fact, OK. I didn't save it though. Should've.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby WickedPissah » Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:19 pm

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:Question for you guys: Since the Blue Line signs have far fewer destinations (Bowdoin, Wonderland, Orient Heights(?) and NOT IN SERVICE), is it safe to say that at least SOME of them will be sold in a full roll rather than cut up? Thanks!


Yes. We will be selling the front and side destination signs in three forms.
1. The entire rollsign in the original case.
2. The entire rollsign without the case.
3. Pieces of the rollsign.

They complete rollsigns in cases are available for purchase now. I haven't photographed them and listed them online yet. If you are interested in purchasing a complete rollsign in the case now, call the store or email me at brian@wardmaps.com. We have roughly 16 end destination rollsigns and roughly 30 side destination rollsigns.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:39 am

Dont think it is nitpicking when you are going to spend alot of dough.The Rail is a virtual fountain of knowledge on this stuff.I dont think he is trying to stir sh*t up for the hell of it, just trying to get it right.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby CircusFreakGRITZ » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:52 am

Teamdriver wrote:Dont think it is nitpicking when you are going to spend alot of dough.The Rail is a virtual fountain of knowledge on this stuff.I dont think he is trying to stir sh*t up for the hell of it, just trying to get it right.

I suppose it depends on the customer. But most people won't really care if something from Park St is categorized as being from the "Red Line/Green Line" station even though TECHNICALLY the sign existed before color-coding took place. Besides, calling a business owner "in over his head" is inappropriate. It's one thing to politely tell someone they may have the incorrect information, but it is another to be plain rude about it.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby saulblum » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:22 am

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:But most people won't really care if something from Park St is categorized as being from the "Red Line/Green Line" station even though TECHNICALLY the sign existed before color-coding took place.


Exactly. Should a map of New York from 1630 not be labeled and keyworded as such, because it was New Amsterdam then?
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby jr145 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:44 am

CircusFreakGRITZ wrote:
Teamdriver wrote:Dont think it is nitpicking when you are going to spend alot of dough.The Rail is a virtual fountain of knowledge on this stuff.I dont think he is trying to stir sh*t up for the hell of it, just trying to get it right.

I suppose it depends on the customer. But most people won't really care if something from Park St is categorized as being from the "Red Line/Green Line" station even though TECHNICALLY the sign existed before color-coding took place. Besides, calling a business owner "in over his head" is inappropriate. It's one thing to politely tell someone they may have the incorrect information, but it is another to be plain rude about it.



Another good point. You also have to figure that they don't just cater to railfans with this store, in fact I'd be willing to bet that railfans are a small percentage of their customer base. A bulk of them are probably just regular people who want a little piece of their city as a decoration. They're not going to know that something was really around before the MBTA was formed, they know Park St as the red and green lines.
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Re: MBTA On Line Store Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:16 pm

I remember it as the MTA, where the B come from? Nostalgic stuff has to blend in with your recall of things, if they dont synch you get confused and headaches.
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