Jump to content




Photo

Cell Phone on the Rails


9 replies to this topic

#1 RichBohlman

RichBohlman

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 40 posts

Posted 17 January 2005 - 12:08 PM

Want to take my cell phone with us on an up coming Amtrak trip.
Can anyone advise how well cell phones work or not work from on borad Amtrak trains?

Thanks-
Rich Bohlman, Pearl - Mississippi
Rail Miles Traveled: 2,358

#2 GG-1

GG-1

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,430 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Las Vegas, NV
  • Interests:PRR GG1 and riding the rails to "see the USA in your Chev".....Train

Posted 17 January 2005 - 12:17 PM

Aloha

Have used mine lots of times, but loss of signal between towns is sometimes longer than when driving.

Eric aka GG-1, Aloha, Mahalo = Thanks

Picture Galleries Posted Image

#3 cbender

cbender

    Lead Service Attendant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 101 posts
  • Location:Alexandria VA

Posted 17 January 2005 - 12:23 PM

Where are you going to (and from). I travel between NYC and DC and my phone works almost the entire way. It starts to get a little flaky for 15-30 minutes a bit north of DC but works fine for the rest of the route.

Does your phone normally have service when you are driving in your car across the country? If so, then I bet you'll have decent coverage on the train.

#4 RichBohlman

RichBohlman

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 40 posts

Posted 17 January 2005 - 12:48 PM

Going from Jackson,MS to Wisconsin Dells,WI and return.

Have not used by cell phone on any out of town trips thus my question.

Thanks-
Rich Bohlman, Pearl - Mississippi
Rail Miles Traveled: 2,358

#5 jccollins

jccollins

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,259 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Williams, Arizona
  • Interests:Amtrak, Grand Canyon Railway

Posted 17 January 2005 - 10:11 PM

In your case (and on most Amtrak long distance trains) cell phones tend to work only near and at most station stops. Try to time your phone calls around the scheduled station stops and you shouldn't have any problem making 10-15 minute phone calls.

BTW, what service is your cell phone with? If you have NEXTEL forget making any successful calls. I had a NEXTEL for a few months and it wouldn't even work in downtown Reno, Nevada! For some reason it worked on my college campus a few blocks north of downtown, but not in downtown or south of downtown. Very weird. I have Cingular now and am much happier with the service reception. Anyone out there thinking of going for the Amtrak Guest Rewards 10,000 point bonus NEXTEL offer be warned: Don't do it. It's not worth it. It's not even worth 100,000 points!
JC Collins in Reno, Nevada.
Don't Motor! Ride Amtrak!

#6 AmtrakWPK

AmtrakWPK

    Engineer

  • Honored Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,833 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 January 2005 - 11:30 PM

Our Verizon CDMA multi-mode phones seem to give us pretty good service where we've tried them, on Silver Service Miami FL - Charleston, S.C. and on Sunset ORL-JAX-NOL. They revert to Analog Roaming when they run out of Verizon's digital system, but the majority of the time we have usable signal, at least on the routes I specified.
I would suggest checking your provider's coverage maps against your proposed routes, and that should give you at least a fair idea of when you might have coverage. And if your provider has a network-update service for their phones (usually a special number like #891 or something that you call with that cellphone), USE IT just before and once or twice during the trip, as that will help educate your phone as to who (what networks) it is allowed to talk to, and how to look for and connect to them.
Make sure you have nationwide roaming and nationwide long distance (not just where you can call long distance TO - also where you can call long distance FROM, without extra charges), and make sure you know exactly what the extra charges, if any, will be for those things, or you may pass out when you get the bill. If you don't read the fine print, you could discover that your "nationwide long distance" is only without extra charge when called while you are in your home territory. Cellphone tariffs can be really tricky, sneaky things to try to decipher.

#7 EmpireBuilderFan

EmpireBuilderFan

    OBS Chief

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 449 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Malta, MT

Posted 17 January 2005 - 11:37 PM

I have Verizon as well. I didn't closely watch my phone, but it seemed to have good coverage (at least 2 bars) nearly every time that I glanced at it along the Builder's route. There will be dead areas with any provider, but the coverage through Wisconsin seems to be quite good.
Fr. Cory (EmpireBuilderFan)

#8 tp49

tp49

    Engineer

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,415 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:SAC

Posted 18 January 2005 - 02:39 AM

What I would recommend doing is looking at your provider's website to see the coverage maps. This would give you an indication as to where you would be able to get service. I have Sprint and when I drove across country a few years ago from their coverage map I knew I would have spotty reception from Omaha to Reno. The map was right.

#9 PRR 60

PRR 60

    Engineer

  • Forum Manager
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,118 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:57 AM

Coverage in urban areas and larger towns should be pretty good regardless of carrier. In rural areas, the wireless carriers concentrate their cell sites along interstate highways. Where the Amtrak route runs parallel to an interstate, you have a decent chance of getting a signal while in the sticks. Where the Amtrak route heads off the beaten “track”, then you probably will have little or no chance.

#10 RichBohlman

RichBohlman

    Train Attendant

  • Training
  • Pip
  • 40 posts

Posted 18 January 2005 - 07:49 AM

Thanks everyone for the great information!
Rich Bohlman, Pearl - Mississippi
Rail Miles Traveled: 2,358



Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users