Letter to Amtrak’s CEO

AmtrakEarlier this week I mailed this letter to Richard H. Anderson, the CEO of Amtrak. More background on the issue I wrote about is available here.

December 17, 2018

Richard H. Anderson
Chief Executive Officer, Amtrak
60 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-4285

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Thank you for your service to the United States as Amtrak’s CEO. My father worked for Amtrak for many years, and I’m a loyal customer. I ride Amtrak whenever possible. I very much appreciate what you do.

Dad worked as an accountant in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. There is no building I love more than 30th Street Station. The building has a soul, and its soul is the split-flap timetable that has served more than 100 million travelers since it was installed in the 1970s.

In January, according to media reports, the existing split-flap board will be replaced it with video monitors. That breaks my heart, but it also sounds like there might be hope for a reprieve.

Anyone who has seen 30th Street’s split-flap timetable in person knows that it’s far more than a message board. It’s magic and beauty and hope and wonder and everything that’s good in the world. I vividly remember the feeling of awe I had when I first saw the Solari board as a young boy. Now, as a 47-year-old man, my eyes get more than a little dusty every time I think about the possibility that it will be replaced by video monitors.

Please do everything you can to keep a split-flap timetable in 30th Street Station.

We all need more magic.

Erik Arneson

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