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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak boosts Wi-Fi speed on Acela Express

An Amtrak employee assists a passenger using a tablet.
Photo – Amtrak


Amtrak has increased the speed and reliability of Wi-Fi service on its Acela Express trains, the national passenger railroad announced late last week.

By replacing dated Wi-Fi technology, the railroad has increased bandwidth and made the service six times faster, according to an Amtrak press release.

The upgrade also allows Amtrak to incorporate higher-speed train-to-ground backhaul technologies, which lays the foundation for additional enhancements.

"Experience has shown that our customers will continue to place a significant and growing demand on high-bandwidth onboard Wi-Fi service," said Lenetta McCampbell, Amtrak's senior director of passenger experience. "These innovative solutions highlight our continued commitment to delivering the very best Wi-Fi service in terms of capacity, performance and operational reliability."

The improvement marks the first phase of Amtrak's multi-year program aimed at providing a next-generation Wi-Fi experience for customers. The railroad is now working to implement the upgrades on the remainder of the Northeast Corridor fleet, including all Northeast Regional trains.

The second phase involves construction of Amtrak's dedicated trackside wireless network, which could ultimately stretch from Washington, D.C., to Boston and would reduce reliance on cellular-based networks, Amtrak officials said.

Earlier this year, amtrak expanded the availability of its AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi service to several eastern long-distance trains, including the Cardinal, Crescent and Lake Shore Limited.

Currently, about 90 percent of Amtrak's customers have access to free onboard Wi-Fi across the railroad's national network.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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