So I’m sitting Amtrak train 280, headed to New York City and then on to Atlanta. And I can tweet, blog, check email and do business. This is one reason I like train travel. (Though I’ll admit taking the train to Atlanta from Albany is far from the quickest way of getting there.)
I’ve been able to access the Internet from the train for over a decade now thanks to Sprint. This time though I’m posting through Amtrak’s on-board WiFi service. Amtrak is slowly moving into the 21st Century.
Given the technical limitations Amtrak is facing, I have to say so far they’ve done an acceptable job. They still require you to hit their proxy web page before you can get any connectivity, which stopped me for a bit since I was trying to do non-HTTP based work at first (dialing into my home VPN and a particular chat program I use.) I understand their point (so they can put up their disclaimer and all) but it is annoying.
One nice feature, though I suspect not much used is that once you agree to their terms of service, it takes you to a page that shows a map with your current location. This can be useful if you don’t have a GPS and are curious as to where you are.
And from all reports, they’ve done a decent job future-proofing the system. Briefly, each car basically has a repeater that talks to the cafe car. The cafe car has the antennas and cell-modems and is designed to be upgradeable as technology improves.
Well, I was going to add more, but my old laptop keeps crashing (time to upgrade, but have to get some business!). So for now I’ll end with saying I’m on train 19 now, on my way to Atlanta. Where, thanks to the modern technology I’m now aware there are tornadoes. Wonder what that will do to my trip.