Amtrak trains feature onboard Wi-Fi service on a handful of its trains and at several of its train stations. Amtrak customers might encounter a couple of kinds of Wi-Fi services with different levels of bandwidth. The first is AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi, which is a free service that Amtrak provides to travelers. Passengers also can find third-party hotspot Wi-Fi networks for which they might have to pay in Downeaster trains and at stations in Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Santa Barbara, California; Portland, Oregon; NYC, New York; and New Haven, Connecticut. With both of these train travel services, riders should also be able to tether their devices.
Amtrak provides free Wi-Fi service on five train lines -- the Acela Express, Lake Shore Limited, Silver Star, Amtrak Cascades and Coast Starlight. Wi-Fi service in Coast Starlight trains is available for sleeping car passengers only in the Pacific Parlour car. AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi is also available at the long distance routes, and Northeast Regional Amtrak stations in Baltimore, Maryland; Boston; Lorton, Virginia; New York City; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Sanford, Florida; Westwood, Massachusetts;, Wilmington, Delaware; and Washington, D.C.
Passengers on the Acela Express will find the access to web browsing and streaming video on platforms like YouTube or Netflix. Downloads of large files more than 10 megabytes are prohibited. Amtrak does this to avoid spotty accessibility problems among travelers using their cell phones and computers. These restrictions are not in place in any Amtrak station that provides Wi-Fi connection.
Users should not expect to be able to access all sites when they use the AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi network. Amtrak wifi VPN blocks content that it deems to be inappropriate to be viewed in a public place. Amtrak will consider unblocking websites that you feel have improperly been blocked.
You may connect to the AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi network through any device that features Wi-Fi capability. This includes laptops and web-enabled smartphones. You also can use tablets to connect to the Wi-Fi network router in a web-enabled train or station. Regardless, cell tower coverage is functional along many of the lines as well, allwoing you to use data from companies like AT&T or Verizon.
According to Amtrak, the company is evaluating whether to install Wi-Fi networks on other trains. As of the date of publication, Amtrack said passengers should expect updates about Wi-Fi network expansion soon.