Amtrak Tracking for My Commute Between New York City and Philadelphia

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Work starts on rail tunnel between New York, New Jersey

Construction began Monday on the $8.7 billion tunnel that's expected to double the number of rail commuter capacity between New Jersey and Manhattan during peak rush periods. This is the nation's largest transportation project. The 8.8 mile-long fourth rail tunnel under the Hudson River will require the removal of 2 million cubic yards of rock and soil and will take eight years to build. Officials estimate the project will create 6,000 construction jobs and add another 45,000 new jobs after completion in 2017. The tunnel is the centerpiece of a project to expand the Penn Station transit hub in New York and fund track and signal improvements. The tunnel will benefit both NJ Transit and Amtrak customers and is a major piece of the Obama federal stimulus plan.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Amtrak Late to Station With Onboard WiFi

Amtrak does not offer WiFi on any of its trains. I've blogged that WiFi service is available at some train stations but is not offered when you're actually on the train. I'm seeing a lot of comments recently on the fact that Amtrak lacks WiFi service. It seems WiFi is gaining traction on all forms of transportation from airplanes to buses. I was on the Bolt Bus service recently (another travel option along the NEC) and the bus offered WiFi! The main reason why I took the Bolt Bus was because it was way cheaper than Amtrak, it took about the same time and I figured why not give it a try - I didn't even realize it had free WiFi to boot, another reason to prefer this service over Amtrak for some routes.

I wish Amtrak had WiFi when I was commuting regularly. They need to add WiFi service this year to the fleet (they are testing it on Acela trains), the competition is passing them by offering this service and Amtrak has been seeing ridership decline in 2009. If airlines and buses can add WiFi, it can be done on a train. Amtrak can spend some of that federal stimulus dollars to get this service up an running, without it they'll be at a competitive disadvantage.