February 2, 2011

Amtrak Cascades trains offer Wi-Fi

Using any laptop computer or Wi-Fi enabled device, Amtrak Cascades passengers traveling between Vancouver, B.C., and Eugene, Ore, will be able to connect to the Internet for general Web surfing and access to e-mail. The free Wi-Fi service will also allow passengers to access corporate networks through most standard Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

More than 838,000 travelers rode Amtrak Cascades in 2010 setting a 16-year high for total ridership. Wi-Fi service has been the most requested amenity by Amtrak Cascades passengers, and more people are traveling on the trains with their Wi-Fi enabled devices. Wi-Fi service on Amtrak Cascades trains will remain free of charge during the introductory period, after which the policy will be reviewed based on customer demand and system performance.

The Wi-Fi service, provided jointly by Amtrak and the Washington State Department of Transportation, is part of a long-term project to refurbish all the trains to like-new condition and extend their service life to approximately 2029. Work completed so far has included outfitting each set of trains with new leather seating, updating interior color schemes and paneling, and installing new flooring. Future work will include upgrading the audio and video systems, and improving the bistro and lounge cars.

Amtrak Cascades is the second train in the Amtrak fleet to install a full-train Wi-Fi network. Amtrak's Acela Express service in the Northeast launched Wi-Fi on all 20 trains in March 2010.

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