Amtrak expected to roll out its AmtrakConnect cellular-based 4G Wi-Fi service on Midwest Corridor trains by early February 2014.
Amtrak is installing Wi-Fi equipment on railcars under contracts with the states of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. AmtrakConnect will be provided on these routes:
Lincoln Service (Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis), expanding to all four round-trips).
Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg (Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy).
Wolverine Service (Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac)
Blue Water (Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron)
Pere Marquette (Chicago-Grand Rapids).
Missouri River Runner (St. Louis-Jefferson City-Kansas City).
Hiawatha Service (Chicago-Milwaukee).
Passengers on these trains will start seeing the availability of the Wi-Fi service as the railcars are deployed.
“AmtrakConnect capitalizes on multiple cellular providers to provide the best mobile experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available,” said Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Matt Hardison. “We are continually looking to improve customer satisfaction, and this service is yet one more way to do so, while also delivering the speeds and connectivity required to maintain a competitive position among transportation providers.”
There is no charge to use AmtrakConnect. Amtrak officials say that in locations where the service is now available that it is routinely used by between 30 to 50 percent of passengers on a given train.
Data-intensive activities such as streaming video and music, and large file downloads will be restricted.
Amtrak said about 75 percent of its passengers nationwide currently use AmtrakConnect. The addition of Midwest corridor trains will increase the coverage percentage to approximately 85 percent.
The Midwest corridors collectively, carried nearly 3.3 million passengers in Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2013.