Amtrak Cascades travelers will get what they have asked for when free Wi-Fi service becomes available today on all Amtrak Cascades trains.
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), turning train trips into productive work time.
“Amtrak Cascades continues to be a desirable travel option and a popular alternative to driving,” said Washington State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. “Adding another great on-board amenity like Wi-Fi makes travel by train even more attractive.”
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.
Amtrak Cascades operates three daily round trips between Portland and Seattle; one daily round trip between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and between Portland and Vancouver, B.C.; and daily service between Eugene and Seattle, via Portland. Amtrak Cascades is operated by Amtrak in partnership with the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. For Amtrak Cascades fares and schedules, visit http://www.AmtrakCascades.com .