Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Amtrak Seeks $446 Million to Replace Aging Rail Fleet

Amtrak has asked Congress for $446 million to begin replacing locomotives and passenger cars. Passenger cars in Amtrak's fleet have been in service for an average of 24 years. Joseph Boardman, Amtrak CEO, said Amfleet I railcars, which he called the "backbone" of the regional service on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, were built in the late 1970s.

Yes, this is totally needed, long overdue and a very good investment if done widely. I think with a new Amtrak fleet that ridership will continue to increase. The cars Amtrak has now are OK but they can be better with more comfortable seats, better windows (how about skylights?), in-seat entertainment system (more $ opportunity for Amtrak?), more total number of seats so more riders so more money.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amtrak WiFi on all trains? Amtrak WiFi RFQ implies 'yes'

Here's the Amtrak RFQ issued on March 3, 2010 seeking a company to install WiFi in all of Amtrak's trains. Good, Amtrak wants WiFi on all their trains, I applaud this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Amtrak board signals times are a-changing, Solari board being retired?

Here's an article in the Baltimore Sun about the new LCD departure/arrival boards seems Amtrak is installing in Baltimore Penn Station. Amtrak says they need to replace the traditional analog flap display boards (Solari boards) with LCD panels to comply with ADA requirements.  I wonder if the board at 30th Street Station will be replaced? I hope not. I love that board at 30th Street, it looks cool and it is totally appropriate for the architecture of that station. And the sound that board makes is great too, you could tell when to check out departure changes when you heard that flip-flip-flip noise, until you heard that noise you could just drift off. With LCD panels changes will be totally silent, you'll have to constantly poll the board to see what's going on, just like if you're at the airport, lame.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Business Travel News: Amtrak Switches On Free Acela Wi-Fi Service

Business Travel News story that Amtrak today announced that it has launched free wireless Internet service on all 20 Acela Express trains that run along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C., and in all four of its in-station ClubAcela lounges

The rail provider also is launching Wi-Fi service for all passengers within gate areas of stations in Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, New York and Washington, D.C. The Wilmington, Del., station will be Wi-Fi-enabled once renovations are complete in early 2011, according to Amtrak.

Good news, Amtrak needed to do this or they'd give the impression to customers they are not a viable modern travel option. WiFi needs to be on all NEC trains by the end of the year I say, then rolled out nationally. Free is great and I hope they keep this model. Paying for service or getting WiFi on your iPhone when the WiFi is secure is a pain in the ass and customers will not use it and a pay model would be as if Amtrak doesn't even offer WiFi. Maybe to prevent over use by non customers at stations Amtrak can do some sort of validation where you have to enter a valid ticket number. Or get Google to sponsor free Amtrak WiFi like they are doing at some US airports.