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Comments on news posted 2013-05-17 16:39:48: Amtrak has been offering Wi-Fi on board some of their trains for several years (a full list is here), though historically the quality of the connections have been ridiculed. Since earlier this year the company has been promising upgrades. ..



Amtrak Regional

Was upgraded a YEAR ago. AT&T put LTE in NHV-BOS in a tight line following the NEC just for Amtrak. The giveaway of why they did it is in RI, where I-95 diverges from the NEC by quite a bit, and the LTE follows the NEC, and not I-95. It was incredibly fast, but it sort of bogged down when there was low signal in the area. I was surprised, as I would think that with external antennas mounted high up on the train car, it would have a good signal when my iPhone inside the car was just barely holding on. Hopefully they have AT&T fill in the gaps, and give them space on the ROW if necessary to make it completely seamless.


Honolulu, HI

new amtrak lte

Cool, I doo notice on higher speeds the internet is just shit. Just like greyhounds or bolt bus.

Montreal, QC


Wifi on trains is a bit questionable now that everybody has tetherable smartphones...

For that matter, the Acela Express is a bit of a joke, since it takes 7 hours to travel 456 miles. I don't know about you, but I don't call 65 miles per hour "high speed". I guess it's faster than their normal train service (if you call shaving 2 minutes off the boston-providence hop "faster"), but compared to real high speed rail, it's pretty slow.
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Etobicoke, ON
said by Guspaz:

now that everybody has tetherable smartphones...

Keep living in a fantasy land..


Monmouth Junction, NJ
reply to Guspaz
said by Guspaz:

Wifi on trains is a bit questionable now that everybody has tetherable smartphones...

Simply not true. And even among those who do, not all are willing or able to pay extra to enable tethering... AND of those who do THAT, there's a cap with extra charges for going over the cap.

So if you're traveling by train, sometimes it makes sense to take advantage of the free wifi, which despite the limitations, can sometimes be good for checking e-mail or web browsing without dipping into your own capped plan.

Not to mention, since the system relies on the same networks as those tetherable smartphones, if the cell network cuts out for the train Wifi, it's probably in no better shape for your smartphone.



Not consistent

When I took the Coast Starlight from California to Seattle last year, the wi-fi simply did not function, and none of the Amtrak employees on board was willing to attempt to get it working. For me, the wi-fi was an added bonus of the trip, but really did not provide connectivity to anywhere. The "land cruise," however, was awesome.

Mechanicsville, VA


More of my tax money going to waste!!

Snohomish, WA

looks like CT needs ...

...track upgrades, or engineer upgrades before they add better Wi-Fi (maybe he was texting )


Horsham, PA

Wifi usually blows

I take the Northeast regional from RI to Philly once every other month or so, usually the wifi is painfully slow, to the point it's unusable and I'm just using LTE which is a crapload faster. Some trips it works but for the most part there are too many people using it, it'll take 30+ seconds just to check email on an iPhone. Plus streaming radio(Pandora, etc) is blocked so it's not good for much more than checking email, facebook, etc. It continues to work in the train tunnels in and out of Manhatten though, when regular cell service is obviously non-existant, until you get to the tracks for Penn station where they have cell service repeaters serving the tracks underground.


Kennett Square, PA

Hope the upgrade helps

I take the Acela from Wilmington DE to NYP every Monday and back on Friday. I have tried to use the Amtrak WiFi but the system is so saturated I have had only poor results. My speed check has never climbed above 1Mbps and usually lower than 200Kbps. I also have ATT LTE data service on my IPad and it works surprisingly well even though I'm using it inside the train. I'm able to regularly watch Netflix and my speed regularly tops 5Mbps.
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reply to Guspaz

Re: wifi

Uh, while the Acela isn't hi-speed like in Europe or Asia, it does run in the 120-140 mph range, not 65 mph.



Update on Coast Starlight wifi

Was just on the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight. The wifi was operational and consistent in the Parlor Car. That car, by the way, is only accessible to riders who've opted for the extra-cost sleeper option (highly recommended and cost-justifiable for this 38+ hour trip!). Those expecting free wifi train-wide will be in for a disappointment as the signal is not intended to cover the entire consist. I did notice that access was provided via a box stock Verizon JetPack 4620L, which struck me as unusual. Hopefully Verizon's waived their $15/GB charge for overages as otherwise this'd be a VERY expensive - and silly! - way for Amtrak to provide internet service!


reply to DC2NYC

Re: wifi

said by DC2NYC :

Uh, while the Acela isn't hi-speed like in Europe or Asia, it does run in the 120-140 mph range, not 65 mph.

Trip times are determined by average speed -- not maximum speed.

Acela travels at a maximum speed of 150 mph from Boston to New York. But it takes 3.5 hours to travel the 231 mile distance. Average speed: 66 mph.

The 110 mph rail lines in Michigan do indeed support speeds of "up to" 110 mph. Average speed: 41 mph.

But cheer up! Next time your train is crawling along at 30 mph in the Baltimore tunnels (built in 1873), think about how much better you feel with 11 aircraft carriers instead of 10.