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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak eyes more free Wi-Fi service, launches YouTube channel


Amtrak officials plan to roll out free Wi-Fi service on Northeast Corridor services and on more West Coast trains by year's end.

Amtrak already has installed free Internet service on its high-speed Acela Express trains between Boston and Washington, D.C., and on Cascades trains in the Pacific Northwest.

With the recent selection of Nomad Digital as Amtrak's preferred technology provider for nationwide deployment, Amtrak workers at the Ivy City Maintenance Facility in Washington and the Penn Coach Yard in Philadelphia soon will begin installing Wi-Fi equipment in more than 450 Amfleet® cars.

Amtrak also has completed construction of a dedicated wireless network that "significantly improves" the Internet connection to trains while traveling through New York tunnels and when stopped at New York Penn station platforms, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

In addition, as cellular providers upgrade their backhaul technology and infrastructure, Amtrak plans to upgrade that part of its system that relies on 3G to one that also uses emerging 4G technologies, such as LTE and WiMAX, which would greatly increase the available bandwidth and improve the network’s performance, according to Amtrak.

Also last week, the national intercity passenger railroad launched a new YouTube channel, which features Amtrak videos on topics such as safety and security, the Trails & Rails program and Amtrak's vision for high-speed rail.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/22/2011