Amtrak Wi-Fi (WiFi) Availability

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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ToledoRailFan
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:36 pm
Location: North Bethesda Maryland

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by ToledoRailFan » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:13 pm

I definitely fall into the "required to be connected" crowd. It's for both work and for pleasure. For the record, I am 28.

I have a relatively high profile position which requires on-call time for a week once every 5 or so weeks, and am constantly on call as a backup/escalation and management contact for my team. I can't go into exactly what I do, but am responsible for keeping the IT lights on for thousands of medical researchers. I have an aircard to help out when I do not have WiFi available - but it is a nicety to not have to use it.

Between my personal BlackBerry and work iPhone, I spend about 6,000 minutes a month on the phone and use about 4 to 5 gb of mobile data - most of which is on the iPhone for work. I don't have a land line.

I don't like to be off the grid. I enjoy my social media, my streaming music, and the ability to not have to think "I wonder...", instead, I find out. That's not to say I don't like to take a step back from a fast paced lifestyle and take a long distance rail trip or a road trip once in a while, but being available and having the ability to get information when I want it are not something I take lightly.

jstolberg
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Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by jstolberg » Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:54 pm

According to a DePaul University survey of over 1,000 people who took the bus instead of Amtrak, 91% were planning on using electronic devices during their travel.
http://busride.com/2011/08/report-curb- ... -business/

RhoXS
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:27 pm

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by RhoXS » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:38 pm

My wife and I made a round trip on the Auto Train last week; our first train trip other than commuter trains. We really enjoyed the experience and expect to go by train again and are even thinking about a Chicago to Ca train trip sometime in the next year or so.

Although we are both not too far from geriatric age of 70 we are both very connected for many reasons (one does not have to be young to be connected as someone previously suggested). As a result, we were initially disappointed when we learned there would be no WiFi access. Our sleeper steward told us that Amtrak had previously experimented with WiFi aboard the Auto Train but they were never able to get it to work reliably so they just dropped the effort. We did not even bother to bring a laptop on board for the return trip.

In any case, we had reasonably good 3G AT&T cell service for not all but most of the trip so we had internet access on our iPhones. Internet access has become part of our everyday life and we miss it when it is not available. This is because any question we have about anything can be relatively quickly researched on the internet. The internet is an almost infinite source of information to us. We use it for everything from finding restaurant menus/addresses, looking up interesting facts that might get our attention from a book we are reading to a town we pass that looks interesting, news, hotel reservations, email, etc. While aboard, I was even able to learn a lot about the GE P40DCs at the head end of the train. The list is endless. As a bonus, the iPhones had good GPS coverage aboard the train so we always new exactly where we were and our speed. Battery life was not a problem because we had a 120 VAC receptacle in our roomette.

In other words, it would be a very welcome benefit if WiFi access would become available on passenger trains. We are maxed out with airports and airline a la carte charging and crappy customer service so we expect to be traveling by train again.

JimBoylan
Posts: 3318
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by JimBoylan » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:08 pm

Washington and Philadelphia's Club Acelas don't like Firefox until you use Internet Explorer to accept the rules and disclaimer. An Acela train at Washington would accept Firefox for the rules and disclaimer, all on 8/11/11. Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge accepted Firefox instantly on 8/10/11.

hi55us
Posts: 2339
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by hi55us » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:08 pm

JimBoylan wrote:Washington and Philadelphia's Club Acelas don't like Firefox until you use Internet Explorer to accept the rules and disclaimer. An Acela train at Washington would accept Firefox for the rules and disclaimer, all on 8/11/11. Chicago's Metropolitan Lounge accepted Firefox instantly on 8/10/11.
Using the Wifi on the acela with google chrome is sometimes buggy, but a guy sitting next to me had a good hint, when you click the "I agree" button you should click on one of the news articles on the next page to avoid having the "I agree" page keep poping up.

n2cbo
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:29 pm

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by n2cbo » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:08 pm

ToledoRailFan wrote:I definitely fall into the "required to be connected" crowd. It's for both work and for pleasure. For the record, I am 28.

I have a relatively high profile position which requires on-call time for a week once every 5 or so weeks, and am constantly on call as a backup/escalation and management contact for my team. I can't go into exactly what I do, but am responsible for keeping the IT lights on for thousands of medical researchers. I have an aircard to help out when I do not have WiFi available - but it is a nicety to not have to use it.

Between my personal BlackBerry and work iPhone, I spend about 6,000 minutes a month on the phone and use about 4 to 5 gb of mobile data - most of which is on the iPhone for work. I don't have a land line.

I don't like to be off the grid. I enjoy my social media, my streaming music, and the ability to not have to think "I wonder...", instead, I find out. That's not to say I don't like to take a step back from a fast paced lifestyle and take a long distance rail trip or a road trip once in a while, but being available and having the ability to get information when I want it are not something I take lightly.
I second the motion... I am TOTALLY LOST without connectivity. I am a senior eXecutive Officer(XO) for emergency operations for The US Army Auxiliary - US Region 2 (My unpaid full-time job), Plus I am a partner in a Philadelphia, Pa. area radio station (my paid full-time job for the moment), so I NEED to be connected. And for the record, I will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of my 39th birthday (I stopped counting at 39) in November (so I guess I can be considered a F.O.G. (F***ing Old Giezer) 8^)

justalurker66
Posts: 2341
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 11:20 pm

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by justalurker66 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:06 am

I would have been happy to have an electrical outlet to keep my toys running the last time I took a LD train. I believe that has been fixed now (more cars upgraded to include outlets at the seat).

There are some very scenic places trains go ... and some unscenic places. Being able to take advantage of some of the diversions one has at home is nice. If that is the morning's paper, fine. If that is the ability to have the internet as available when sitting for hours at a time that is good too. When the competition offers something like charging stations or enroute wi-fi it is good to take notice and see what one can do to meet the competition.

Not having wi-fi is a negative ... but it is a negative that can be fixed. Perhaps corporate sponsors will help. Let AT&T or Verizon Wireless put "wi-fi compliments of ..." stickers on the window and have them install and support the system. But get it there. The number of people who expect wi-fi will only grow.

(BTW: A seat base that could be tipped back two inches instead of being level with the train would have been more desirable than wi-fi or power outlets given the choice. But I had none of the three. Having those three features would allow me to enjoy riding trains more.)

Jersey Jeff
Posts: 398
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 3:55 pm
Location: Union Tower on the NEC

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Jersey Jeff » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:20 pm

I think Amtrak is inching closer to offering WiFi outside of the NEC. Yesterday I rode train 43 from Newark to Pittsburgh in Business Class car #81502. When I opened my laptop, I found a strong WiFi signal from a network named "Amtrak Connect." Alas, it was password-protected, so perhaps it is operating in testing mode only right now.

BuddSilverliner269
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Location: Trenton Line MP 30.70

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by BuddSilverliner269 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:43 pm

Per signs hanging up in our crew bases, the wifi will be available on the trains on October 1st. I think amtrak would've been ready awhile ago but the cafe cars needed to be hooked up for this as well as the rest of the cars. There is a new box in the ceiling of the coach vestibules that is tied into the wifi system.

Greg Moore
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Greg Moore » Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:45 pm

BuddSilverliner269 wrote:Per signs hanging up in our crew bases, the wifi will be available on the trains on October 1st. I think amtrak would've been ready awhile ago but the cafe cars needed to be hooked up for this as well as the rest of the cars. There is a new box in the ceiling of the coach vestibules that is tied into the wifi system.

Yeah, I just noticed one of those the other day. Seems I guessed correctly.
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hi55us
Posts: 2339
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by hi55us » Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:58 pm

BuddSilverliner269 wrote:Per signs hanging up in our crew bases, the wifi will be available on the trains on October 1st. I think amtrak would've been ready awhile ago but the cafe cars needed to be hooked up for this as well as the rest of the cars. There is a new box in the ceiling of the coach vestibules that is tied into the wifi system.
I assume this is just on the NEC

BuddSilverliner269
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:40 am
Location: Trenton Line MP 30.70

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by BuddSilverliner269 » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:35 am

hi55us wrote:
BuddSilverliner269 wrote:Per signs hanging up in our crew bases, the wifi will be available on the trains on October 1st. I think amtrak would've been ready awhile ago but the cafe cars needed to be hooked up for this as well as the rest of the cars. There is a new box in the ceiling of the coach vestibules that is tied into the wifi system.
I assume this is just on the NEC
I believe the notice said ALL NE direct trains. I could be wrong

jstolberg
Posts: 1303
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:17 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by jstolberg » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:53 pm

Good news! October Wi-fi rollout will be on all Northeast Regional trains and also
Empire Service
Ethan Allen Express
Keystone Service
Springfield Shuttles
Vermonter and
Carolinian

November Wi-fi will be complete on the
Capitol Corridor
San Joaquin
Pacific Surfliner

And by the end of 2011
Auto Train lounge cars.
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServe ... Report.pdf page 9

hi55us
Posts: 2339
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:02 pm
Location: Manhattan

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by hi55us » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:14 pm

jstolberg wrote:Good news! October Wi-fi rollout will be on all Northeast Regional trains and also
Empire Service
Ethan Allen Express
Keystone Service
Springfield Shuttles
Vermonter and
Carolinian

November Wi-fi will be complete on the
Capitol Corridor
San Joaquin
Pacific Surfliner

And by the end of 2011
Auto Train lounge cars.
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServe ... Report.pdf page 9
Great!

It comes as a surprise that wifi will be available on the Keystone&Springfield trains since they do not operate with cafe cars. I thought some equipment would be housed in the cafe.

nomis
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Location: MRS 20 (was QA 9 & QB 2)

Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by nomis » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:36 pm

The cab cars have the same roof mount antennas as the cafe's. I have a few pics showing that but i don't think they're uploaded yet.
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