As some of you know, I wrote a script that will provide the status of a train in response to a text message. You can send a text message containing amtrakstatus [station code] [train number] to 41411, and it will send you back the status of that train. For instance, amtrakstatus pdx 14 will give you the status of the northbound Coast Starlight in Portland. All was well and good until various wireless carriers started charging TextMarks (the company whose free service I'm using) for sending these text messages. In response, TextMarks stopped supporting their free service for customers of Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile, Virgin, and Boost. So those who use one of those carriers aren't able to get the train status via text message. TextMarks has a paid service, which works for everyone, but their paid plans start at $19 per month, which is more than I want to spend. So a couple weeks ago, I started looking for a less expensive option that everyone can use. I'm happy to report that I have come up with something that should work for everyone, and it doesn't cost me a dime. (I'll give a brief summary of the technical workings of this new service at the end of this post, in case anyone is interested.) To use the new service, simply send a text message to 401-268-7251 (that's 401-AMTRAK-1 ) containing [station code] [train number]. (Note that you don't include amtrakstatus in the message.) For example, pdx 14 will give you the status of the northbound Coast Starlight in Portland. Or you could also send 14 pdx, the order doesn't matter. Also, capitalization doesn't matter - you can use pdx, PDX, pDx or whatever. The 41411 service will continue to operate, so you can use whichever one you prefer. Let me know if you have any problems with either service. Boring technical stuff: I obtained the 401-AMTRAK-1 phone number from the free Google Voice service. One of the features that Google Voice provides is the ability to send and receive text messages. You can also forward any text messages you receive to an email address, which is how I have things set up. I then wrote a Windows Service that runs on my computer that monitors the email account for new messages. I'm using IMAP, so I get an instant notification that there's a new message. Whenever a new message arrives, the program looks up the train status on Amtrak's website, and sends a text message reply via Google Voice.