Published on : Friday, December 20, 2013
AmtrakConnect cellular-based Wi-Fi service is arriving soon on Amtrak trains in the Midwest, with eight corridors offering this free amenity to Amtrak passengers by early February of 2014. Collectively, these routes carried nearly 3.3 million passengers in the last year (Amtrak FY2013, Oct. 2012-Sept. 2013).
Amtrak is now installing the equipment on railcars under contracts with the states of
Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Wi-Fi service will be provided on these routes:
Illinois: 1.22 million passengers
Lincoln Service: Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis (expanding to all four round-trips)
Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg: Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy
Michigan: 1.05 million passengers
Wolverine Service: Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac
Blue Water: Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron
Pere Marquette: Chicago-Holland-Grand Rapids
Missouri: 200,000 passengers
Missouri River Runner: St. Louis-Jefferson City-Kansas City
Wisconsin (contract shared with Illinois): 821,000 passengers
Hiawatha Service: Chicago-Milwaukee
A specific completion date will be announced next month. Passengers on these Amtrak
Chicago Hub Service trains will start seeing the availability of the service as the railcars are deployed.
“Last week, I met with Amtrak Board of Directors Chairman Anthony Coscia and his
predecessor and current Board Member Thomas Carper. We discussed continued growth in ridership numbers and how we can maintain that trend,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate’s Midwest Passenger Rail Caucus. “Bringing Wi-Fi to these trains will better serve passengers and help Amtrak continue to set ridership records for the region.”
“Free Wi-Fi service on Amtrak trains, combined with our ongoing high-speed rail
improvements, means passengers will get to their destinations more quickly, comfortably and enjoyably,” said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
“Wi-Fi is an important additional amenity for passengers on Michigan and other
Midwest corridor services. Michigan looks forward to travelers enjoying Wi-Fi and other service improvements as we continue to implement our Accelerated Rail program,” said Tim Hoeffner, Rail Director, Michigan Department of Transportation “We are excited to partner with Amtrak and our sister state DOTs on Wi-Fi service as we look for more and creative ways to make train travel a more attractive option in Michigan and throughout the Midwest.”
“We are eager to start providing the free Wi-Fi service to our Hiawatha passengers through this partnership,” said Mark Gottlieb, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “This is part of our commitment to improving the passenger rail travel experience between Milwaukee and Chicago, especially for daily business commuters.”
AmtrakConnect capitalizes on multiple cellular providers to provide the best mobile
experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available.
“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,” said Matt Hardison, Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer.
Hardison explained that AmtrakConnect is provided at no cost to passengers and has
proven very popular – as evidenced by the fact that it routinely supports between 30 and 50 percent of passengers on a given train. As the demand for on-board Wi-Fi continues to grow, and in order to ensure the best experience for everyone, data-intensive activities, such as streaming video and music, and large file downloads that can slow everyone down, will be restricted.
Doing so helps ensure that high-volume data users onboard the trains do not degrade the
experience for others.
About 75 percent of Amtrak passengers nationwide already Enjoy the Journey® with free
AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi. The addition of Chicago Hub Services will increase the coverage
percentage to approximately 85 percent.
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