Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I miss the clackety clack too...

Just saw Michael Dresser's post (The Sun's transportation reporter) on the disappearance of the departures and arrivals board at Baltimore's Penn Station.

Dresser informs us that the tiny digital screen that's replaced the large, old school mechanical signboard is only temporary until a new, larger digital board completes a trial run. Good thing because I always have to squint to see whether my train will be on time or not every morning.

Though Dresser notes that the new sign is in keeping with the times - "the flip-flapping signboards are going the way of the steam engine in rail stations around the world" - I'd argue that nostalgia is not the only reason to gripe about the disappearance of the mechanical board.

A number of blind commuters ride the MARC train, and I'd wager a guess that the clackety clack of the old signboard was helpful in alerting them that either a train had arrived or a departure time had been adjusted. Unfortunately the announcers are usually behind what the signboard, and as every MARC commuter knows you want to get a front and center space in line when the train arrives to assure a good seat on the train.

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