Connecting to Wifi on Amtrak Trains and at Stations

There is wifi on Amtrak long distance trains
Yes, even on this Amtrak long distance train, you can connect to wifi.

Yes, Virginia.  There is wifi aboard Amtrak and at Amtrak stations.  However, all of us who travel with smart phones, tablets and computers close at hand need to know the limitations.

The good news: wifi is offered aboard many Amtrak trains including long distance trains.  There’s also wifi at most Amtrak stations.  And it’s free!  Unlike some European trains where you, the tourist, must register an email address and pay a few euros to connect, wifi aboard Amtrak is free and easy for everyone.

The bad news: Wifi isn’t offered on all trains.

How good is Amtrak wifi

Amtrak continues to add and improve their wifi service, AmtrakConnect Wi-fi, to more trains. Sure, I get frustrated when I can’t connect or if service is spotty.  Then I remind myself that a train is a moving target and needs to be in areas where reception is possible.  Similar to wifi on a ship…it’s only as good as the signal it receives…and how many people are logging in at the same time.

That’s primarily why you’ll find wifi offered on trains that operate east of the Mississippi River. As you travel west, you’ll be able to connect on the California Surfliner between San Luis Obispo and San Diego. Other trains, like Amtrak’s famous long-haul trains, spend so much time in rural and mountainous parts of America that even mobile phones drop reception at times.  So while the long distance overnight trains do offer AmtrakConnect, there are definitely spots without a connection.

The only downside to using AmtrakConnect Wi-fi is that it doesn’t support high-bandwidth activities such as streaming music, streaming video or downloading large files.  It’s really only for general wifi use but at night, I’ve been able to stream Frasier, usually after most of the passengers are asleep.

Amtrak Trains with Wifi

  • Acela Express
  • Adirondack (not available in Canada)
  • Amtrak Cascades (not available in Canada)
  • Auto Train
  • Blue Water
  • Capitol Corridor
  • Cardinal
  • Carolinian
  • Crescent
  • Downeaster
  • Empire Service
  • Ethan Allen Express
  • Hiawatha Service
  • Hoosier State
  • Illini/Saluki
  • Illinois Zephyr
    Carl Sandburg
  • Keystone
  • Lake Shore Limited
  • Lincoln Service
  • Maple Leaf (not available in Canada)
  • Missouri River Runner
  • New Haven – Springfield Shuttle
  • Northeast Regional
  • Pacific Surfliner
  • Palmetto
  • Pennsylvanian
  • Pere Marquette
  • San Joaquins
  • Silver Meteor
  • Silver Star
  • Vermonter
  • Wolverine Service

Several Amtrak stations offer wifi, however for now, those stations are all east of the Mississippi River.

Amtrak Train Stations with Wifi

  • Baltimore, MD – Penn Station
  • Boston, MA – South Station – available inside ClubAcela only
  • Chicago, IL – Union Station
  • Lorton, VA
  • New York Moynihan Station
  • New York, NY – Penn Station – available in the gate areas and inside ClubAcela
  • Philadelphia, PA – 30th Street Station – available in the gate areas and inside ClubAcela
  • Providence, RI
  • Sanford, FL
  • Washington, DC – Union Station – available in the gate areas and inside ClubAcela
  • Westwood, MA – Route 128
  • Wilmington, DE – Wilmington Station

How to Connect to Wifi on Amtrak using AmtrakConnect Network

Just like in a hotel, in Wifi Settings on your device, it should automatically find AmtrakConnect network.  If your phone, table or laptop do no automatically connect:

  • Under your list of available wireless networks, look for Amtrak_Wifi
  • Select the network name
  • Oper or refresh browser and you should see the AmtrakConnect welcome screen
  • Click that you agree to the terms of use.  You’ll be directed to the Amtrak Landing Page.  You’re now  connected to the internet

All four steps above must be completed to access the internet.

Read Next:  Aboard the California Zephyr Chicago to LA

Amtrak Wifi Internet Speed

According to information furnished by Amtrak, “Our mobile Wi-Fi network relies on bandwidth provided by cellular carriers who have towers along our routes. The bandwidth available from these towers is limited and our speed may not match what you are used to receiving from stationary Wi-Fi networks such as your home or office.”

Amtrak continues, “Engaging in web activities that use large amounts of bandwidth will negatively affect the online experience of other passengers. When using our network, please keep this in mind and be respectful of your fellow passengers.”

Restrictions on Wifi Usage

AmtrakConnect blocks access to streaming media and limits file downloads to 10MB.  Amtrak recommends passengers download any necessary large files prior to boarding the train. AmtrakConnect also restricts access to web sites with objectionable content.

That’s all you need to do to connect to wifi aboard Amtrak.  As you might expect there is no technical support available while traveling. However, if the network appears to be down, it’s a good idea to let the conductor know so the outage can be reported.

Security

Like any open network that can be access without a pass code or login, it’s no more secure that what you’d find at Starbucks or a local library.

Before you leave home

It’s always a good idea to download whatever you plan to watch, before you leave home.  For example, the wifi at the train station in New York in the Acela Lounge, I tried in vain to download 23 minutes of a Big Bang Theory episode. Only 23 minutes and the train station wifi couldn’t handle it.  I later learned that the limit for a download file was 10MB…the episode was just slightly over that number. Download before you leave home.

Amtrak is continuously looking for ways to add wifi on more trains.  Check back for updates on new Amtrak trains and train stations that offer wifi.

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4 thoughts on “Connecting to Wifi on Amtrak Trains and at Stations”

  • Hi Kevin,
    At this time, the Sunset Limited does not offer wifi. I have used my phone and tethered with my laptop…when not in too remote an area.
    Sherry

  • Hi Wayne,
    To get your ticket, you need to call 1-800-USA-Rail. When “Julie” answers and for every question, just say, “Representative” and you’ll get to a live person. Unfortunately, until CSX allows Amtrak to travel on their freight tracks between Jacksonville and New Orleans, there is no direct way to get to Arizona. BUT…you can drive to New Orleans and pick up the Sunset Limited. This train runs 3 days a week in each direction. Yes, definitely get a roomette…or if the price isn’t too bad, I’d suggest going with a deluxe bedroom so that you have your own bathroom for the 2-day trip. Depending on how far out you want to book may determine the pricing. A ballpark guess is difficult but I might say from New Orleans to Tucson in a roomette in February would be from $500 for a roomette to $1,200 for a deluxe bedroom. I’d also suggest just playing around with travel dates on the Amtrak.com site before you phone Amtrak.
    Have a wonderful train trip!
    Sherry

  • How can I get a train ticket and about how long would it take for me to go from either Jacksonville FL or Tallahassee FL to Tucson Arizona, and should I get the roomette just a ball park estimate on the cost is fine, thank you , I am a pilot with a plane but just want to travel by train since I have never been on one, of any kind -thanks again

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