Amtrak adds wi-fi to Empire Service

amtrak wifi stickerAmtrak announced today that there's now free wi-fi service on its Empire Service route, which travels from Buffalo to Albany to NYC.

The Empire Service is one of 12 routes to get wi-fi today. A few other locally-connected routes are also getting the service, though it will be limited to select cars: Ethan Allen Express (New York City - Rutland, Vermont), Adirondack (New York City - Montreal), and Maple Leaf (New York City - Toronto). Look for the wifi sticker (right) in the cars.

Amtrak already had wi-fi on Acela routes. Has anyone used it? (Update: Benita says she used it yesterday and "it worked just fine.") We're hoping it's better than the often dodgy service on the MegaBus. Amtrak says it makes use of mobile data networks to provide the service, and there's limited bandwidth among many of its routes.

Full press release with more details after the jump.

Earlier on AOA: The best way to get from Albany to NYC?

Amtrak adds wi-fi to 12 routes

Comments

I used it a week ago on the train from Rochester to Schenectady. It worked pretty well. Audio and video streaming are blocked, likely to keep it from slowing to a crawl. It's a great addition, and will be very helpful when I use the train but need to be connected to work.

I like the logo!

I, too, used it last week between alb and NYC last week, and it was acceptable. Since it's cell based, it had the normal bad spots along the way as you get on your smartphone wit AT&T or Verizon. It's a nice amenity, just don't expect true broadband service.

The only downside to taking the train between Albany and NYC (beside the price) is the lack of 3G connectivity in the more rural areas. Doesn't sound like this well help much with that, but it's a nice start.

Not surprisingly, it drops out where your cell or wireless modem drop out, so it doesn't do much to fix the connectivity problem. And it seems to have this weird glitch with regard to Firefox - I have to initialize it in Internet Explorer, and once I accept the terms there, Firefox works just fine.

And if I hit this button and it posts, that means it works, 'cause I'm on the train right now.

Do I just have to fight for a WiFi car, or can I ask the conductor nicely?

Carl wins for most meta post of the month.

Confirming Carl's comment. Departed Penn Station an hour ago and currently taking advantage of the free wireless.

Even with the patchy connection it's still a great service. Kudos to Amtrak.

All Empire Service trains have WiFi available in all cars. Props to Amtrak for having a service rep walking my 6:55am train to NYC this AM helping people get connected. I will say that it when the service is working, the load times are solid even with multiple users in seats around me.

I think the cell service issue has a lot to do with the steepness of the banks Hudson in certain spots.

Kudos to Amtrak? What's the cost of a roundtrip ticket to Penn Station these days? $100?

You can do an Albany-NYP roundtrip for $78 (leaving out parking at the station) if you select trains at the right time.

I'm having trouble with the service now (I'm posting from my phone) but thanks to the above commenters' troubleshooting tips. Chrome refuses to let me online, maybe another browser will work better. I see a few MiFi networks online so probably everyone else is having the same problem.

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