April 2015 Presidentís Report

 

The Danbury Railway Museum has been fortunate enough, over our years of existence, to have received many donations of artifacts, memorabilia, collections, books and magazines, model trains and other railroad equipment. Some of the donations have come from our neighbors (Metro-North and the State of Connecticut). Recently, the DRM was the recipient of the Solari Board from New Havenís Union Station.

 

Following is some of the story of the Solari Board (pictures of its arrival in Danbury appeared in the October Ė November 2014 newsletter). The Solari Board is an electrically/mechanically operated train status board that is now being replaced by video displays similar to those seen in various airports. The Board is over 12 & 1/2 feet long, 5 & 1/2 feet tall, 7 inches deep and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. In New Havenís Union Station it was mounted on a wall over an entry/exit doorway approximately 8 feet above the floor. Many pictures and videos of it in operation can be observed on the internet. So, maybe, you ask, how did it come to the DRM? In 2009 we received notice from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, that the DRM was one of the organizations being considered to be the recipient of the Solari Board, which was a computer controlled status display from New Havenís station. The computer and software to operate the display was not to be included as it was proprietary. Its final disposition and date were unknown, but the decision was eminent. At least a year passed without news. In mid-2012, a visit from the project manager of the relocation project visited the DRM to see where the Board would be located if we were the recipients and could it be adequately structurally supported. Two locations were proposed. Still no news on the Boardís future location. Many news articles and internet blogs and other interested groups with agendas, comments and speculations resulted in confusion and controversy. Late in 2014, a phone call to the DRM from CDOT stated that all bets were off because Amtrak was the current owner of the Solari Board and wasnít sure what they were going to do with it, nor where it would go. AUGH! The following week; a phone call and a visit from the rigging company that was going to bring the Board to the Museum on whether they could get their tractor-trailer into the driveway, if they could get the Board into the building and where was it going to be stored. A few days passed and the Solari Board finally arrived at the Danbury Railway Museum.

 

Jeff Van Wagenen and Marty Grossmann have designed and constructed electrical circuits that will make our new acquisition interactive! Stay tuned for progress on this great new artifact!

 

On behalf of the Danbury Railway Museum, Wade W. Roese