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WIFI on trains

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My daughter just received a call from a company taking a survey about wifi on trains. Jest of the survey was whether she would be interested in using wifi on Amtrak trains. Wanted her to rank which services she would be like to see, music, Blackberry, TV programs, movies, etc. Also wanted to know if she would use these services if provided in lounge car. If a she would be willing to pay for wifi services above. Sounded like laptop use would either be free or a hourly charge might apply. Wanted to know what she would be willing to pay per hour if a charge was instituted. Another part of the survey was if there would be an interest in tv in the sleeper car rooms. I don't know if they specified bedrooms, roomettes or both. Another service they asked about was some type of screen in either the cars (at the end of) and/or the lounge which displayed news and up coming station arrival.

 

Sorry if this seems disjointed but I was over hearing the conversation between the two of them. The caller verified that she traveled Amtrak in the last twelve months. She last took Amtrak in February, I on the other hand traveled four times in the last twelve months. Anyone else get called to take this survey?

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having an LCD TV with available programming in the sleepers might be a good idea. i don't really miss the rentable player (how long did that last?). and the crappy tube TVs in the sightseer cars were around for far too long (could you even hear the audio?).

 

but yeah, wi-fi is a must on corridor and LD trains if amtrak is to stay competitive with airlines and megabus.

 

thanks for sharing!

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the rental video players went away cause the company that provided them went out of business. some of those questions i remember being asked by via rail about there wi-fi when you visted there website. tvs in a sleeper would be a good idea maybe with a built in dvd player so you can watch your own movies.

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Guest kevin
the rental video players went away cause the company that provided them went out of business. some of those questions i remember being asked by via rail about there wi-fi when you visted there website. tvs in a sleeper would be a good idea maybe with a built in dvd player so you can watch your own movies.

 

More likely to be a slot to slide your credit card than to insert your DVD.

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Another service they asked about was some type of screen in either the cars (at the end of) and/or the lounge which displayed news and up coming station arrival.

 

I haven't taken any survey from Amtrak. I do like the idea of wifi - not sure that I'd pay :unsure: But I'd really like to see some current news. Sometimes the newspapers just aren't enough.

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Guest kevin
That would not be likely at all, Kevin. Amtrak doesn't nickel and dime like that.

The previous Movie player was free?

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Putting in my 2 cents: The old TVs on the Superliner Lounges never were worth much, the sound was crappy, they were always breaking down and the movies they showed really sucked! I'd say that the "theater" on the CS is basically a baby sitting service for the kidoos while mom and pop have wine and cheese, really a waste of space on a great car!Also the Talgo tv systems don't work well either, scrap them too!

 

I see no reason why tvs/dvds would need to be placed in sleepers, most people that want this carry their own players or even phones and laptops that play movies/tv etc. I'd think that wifi would be worth it for sure, if airlines can do it, why not Amtrak?

 

I'd much rather the mon ey be put into upgrading the diners/have real lounges like the PPC on the LD trains and hire more OBS for the diners and sleepers so they don't have to do the work of two!

Edited by jimhudson

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I agree with Jimhudson, about the only amenity along these lines I can really see as worthwhile implementing is the WiFi, it'd allow business travelers to stay connected, so they might opt for the longer train than the shorter plane trip.

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That would not be likely at all, Kevin. Amtrak doesn't nickel and dime like that.

The previous Movie player was free?

 

Those movie players were a sub-contract thing. The TVs they had in the Viewliners were free.

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Guest AmtrakEmployee

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet; perhaps it's still having a "soft opening", and once in a while the transmitting cars have to be pulled for service that have caused people to miss it, but: The Coast Starlight has wi-fi. For free. It works almost everywhere along the route, except for a few of the longer tunnels. Bring your computers and you'll see; a number of passengers in recent months have been EXTREMELY pleasantly surprised to discover this little freebie. It is transmitted from the sleepers, so sometimes it doesn't go all the way back to the 13 or 14 cars, but you can pretty much always get it in the lounge.

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That would not be likely at all, Kevin. Amtrak doesn't nickel and dime like that.

The previous Movie player was free?

 

Those movie players were a sub-contract thing. The TVs they had in the Viewliners were free.

 

That was a private independent company that paid Amtrak a fee to allow them to rent the DVD players to Amtrak passenger and to advertise in Amtrak timetables.

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and the movies they showed really sucked!

Oh I don't know. Watched "The Truman Show" (new at the time) one afternoon in a westbound CZ SSL. Kind of a pain, what with foot traffic and noisy kids, but it seemed good enough that I requested - and got - a replay that night. Word of the encore showing spread quickly, and I was joined by a number of older, kinda BYOB, folks who watched the flick with me peacefully and quietly in the otherwise empty SSL. Afterward most stuck around and stayed up late discussing the movie, which remains the only Jim Carrey work I've ever liked.

 

Not sure that woulda happened had Wi-Fi been available, but I'm still for it.

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if they had wi-fi maybe amtrak could work a deal with netflix to show movies on the tv. netflix has this box that will let you watch movies instantly on your tv instead of your PC.

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The sleeper cars used on the London to Penzance run have been fitted with TV screens, although there is slightly more room in there to put the screen, might be a struggle in a roomette. At the moment it is just loaded with TV shows, comedy, documentaries and the like, the intention is to have movies on there in the future. So far it has proved popular, and the equipment is very reliable. It was installed on the sleeper cars as a prototype to fitting it to one coach of our HST train sets. The sleeper use is free, the day time trains will cost a few pounds. I think the day version will have stuff like GPS on, so you can track the progress of the train, speed etc etc.

Talking to the boss man of the TV company, he reckons Wifi is not the way to go, the improvement in mobile internet technology renders it slightly old hat, after all if you have an iPhone you can get by without Wifi.

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I'd like to see WiFi service. I was able to connect to few hot spots near stations on my last trip. Of course, this was hit and miss, but I was able to work e-mail and check a few web sites.

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Wi-Fi is a *Must*.... As for the others, flat screens with content in either sleepers or lounge, eh, I kind of agree with OP, I'd rather see the $$$ spent on deep cleaning or other subtle improvements.

 

Problem is, I'm and old fart, and maybe the 20-something, 30-somethings have a completely different view.......

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet; perhaps it's still having a "soft opening", and once in a while the transmitting cars have to be pulled for service that have caused people to miss it, but: The Coast Starlight has wi-fi. For free. It works almost everywhere along the route, except for a few of the longer tunnels. Bring your computers and you'll see; a number of passengers in recent months have been EXTREMELY pleasantly surprised to discover this little freebie. It is transmitted from the sleepers, so sometimes it doesn't go all the way back to the 13 or 14 cars, but you can pretty much always get it in the lounge.

 

If the Coast Starlight had wi-fi Nov 22-23, then it must have been down. I was in a sleeper & couldn't pull a steady signal between PDX & SJC. (Of course, I did sleep some of the way) Wouldn't someone, like the SCA, have mentioned it?

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Guest Tony
I do like the idea of wifi - not sure that I'd pay :unsure:
That would not be likely at all, Kevin. Amtrak doesn't nickel and dime like that.

 

From my experiences, except for in the Acela Lounges, the vendor for WiFi in the stations charges for its usage. I think the vendor is T-Mobile.

 

IMHO, if they charge in the stations, they will certainly charge on-board too.

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Guest Tony
The TVs they had in the Viewliners were free.

 

If Amtrak could not keep those LCD TV's and the tape players feeding them working well in the Viewliners, I really doubt Amtrak will be able to keep something even more technical like WiFi and its internet link going. It might work for a short while, but as with a lot of things on Amtrak, it will degrade, fall into disrepair, and get scraped.

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The TVs they had in the Viewliners were free.

 

If Amtrak could not keep those LCD TV's and the tape players feeding them working well in the Viewliners, I really doubt Amtrak will be able to keep something even more technical like WiFi and its internet link going. It might work for a short while, but as with a lot of things on Amtrak, it will degrade, fall into disrepair, and get scraped.

 

Well, the major difference with between a VHS player and WiFi is that the former has moving parts and the latter is solid state. Having no moving parts greatly reduces the chances that something will break, and if it does, it just needs to be swapped out with a new unit.

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London to Penzance

As in Pirates of?

 

(sing along!)

 

(Just TRY to sing along. I dare you!)

 

Taking one consideration with another, and to set this here Limey right, I can whistle all the tunes from that infernal nonsense Pinafore.

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I do like the idea of wifi - not sure that I'd pay :unsure:
That would not be likely at all, Kevin. Amtrak doesn't nickel and dime like that.

 

From my experiences, except for in the Acela Lounges, the vendor for WiFi in the stations charges for its usage. I think the vendor is T-Mobile.

 

IMHO, if they charge in the stations, they will certainly charge on-board too.

 

There's free WiFi at 30th St. But that's because it's provided by the Cosi cafe, not Amtrak. And you have to be sitting in the fourth of the station waiting hall nearest the Cosi to get a decent signal.

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It's nice to see that Amtrak is finally getting on the w--fi bandwagon, though they're way behind the curve on this one. And it's disheartening to hear that they might be considering charging for the service, especially since the bus companies that offer it are giving it away for free. Not the way to be competitive, Amtrak.

 

But the whole video thing needs to just be forgotten ... Amtrak should have learned its lesson from its earlier attempts. Equipment is expensive, they have to license content, and unless they do some sort of video-on-demand thing their offerings couldn't match what somebody with a laptop or iPod could accomplish for themselves.

 

And the SSL cars just weren't designed for movie viewing ... too many windows, and the seating is all wrong. And if you don't want to watch the movie, it was much less fun hanging out in the lounge when the movie was on.

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