Amtrak Wi-Fi
Amtrak Wi-Fi

Amtrak Wi-Fi: How to get connected to the web

Welcome to the world of Amtrak Wi-Fi! Whether traveling on an Acela Express or a regional train, you’ll likely have access to Wi-Fi to keep you connected. However, Wi-Fi may not be available on long-distance trains. This article provides a list of stations and trains that offer Amtrak Wi-Fi.

While this complimentary service is perfect for browsing the web and staying in touch via email, it’s important to note that streaming or downloading large files may not be possible.

In this article, we’ll explore alternative ways to stay connected while on the move and what to expect from Wi-Fi on Amtrak trains.

Brief Amtrak Wi-Fi History

Over the years, Amtrak’s Wi-Fi service has undergone improvements to enhance reliability and speed due to increasing passenger demand for connectivity and newer hardware and software available.

My First Experience with Amtrak Wi-Fi

Amtrak Wi-Fi 2014
The first public login page for Amtrak WI-Fi

My first encounter with Amtrak Wi-Fi was aboard the Hiawatha during its early implementation. Since then, I’ve noticed significant improvements in service quality, although it remains imperfect.

Amtrak has experimented with various technologies to enhance onboard connectivity in the past decade, including mobile hotspots on several Superliner trains. This test was primarily for sleeper car passengers but was discontinued due to technological limitations and inconsistent performance.

As a frequent traveler, I’ve continued to use Amtrak’s Wi-Fi service intermittently, often switching between onboard Wi-Fi and my phone as a hotspot, depending on the circumstances.

This update reflects the expansion of Amtrak’s Wi-Fi service and provides context about past attempts to improve connectivity, offering a comprehensive perspective for readers.

Amtrak routes with Wi-Fi.

Here is the list of Amtrak trains with Wi-Fi.

Amtrak stations with Wi-Fi

A look at the Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station
Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station

Some Amtrak stations offer Wi-Fi, but signal strength may vary due to infrastructure and the number of users.

Other stations may offer Wi-Fi services provided by companies other than Amtrak. For example, the Milwaukee Intermodal Station has internet service through Greyhound. Like any system,

The list below is of stations with Wi-Fi services provided by Amtrak.

  • Baltimore, MD – Penn Station
  • Boston, MA – South Station (inside the lounge only)
  • Chicago, IL – Union Station (not available in all areas of the station)
  • Lorton, VA
  • New York, NY – Moynihan Station
  • New York, NY – Penn Station (in gate areas and inside the lounge)
  • Philadelphia, PA – William H Gray III 30th Street Station (in gate areas and inside the lounge)
  • Providence, RI
  • Sanford, FL
  • Washington, DC – Union Station (in gate areas and inside the lounge)
  • Westwood, MA – Route 128
  • Wilmington, DE – Wilmington Station

What devices can connect to Amtrak Wi-Fi?

Most modern devices, such as computers, tablets, and phones, can connect to this free service.

How to connect to Amtrak Wi-Fi

The photos in this section are examples, and the screens can change at any time. I used an iPhone in these examples. The process of logging in is similar to that of other types of devices.

Amtrak Wi-Fi hook up
Find the Amtrak network.

Step one

  • Go into your device’s settings and look for Amtrak_Wi-Fi; the photos are from my iPhone.
    • Other phones and tablets will look different.
  • On Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins trains, look for “YourTrainWiFi” and
  • Click agree from the welcome screen.

Amtrak wi-fi terms and agreement page
Terms and conditions page.

Step two

  • Wait a few seconds; your web browsers should appear with the terms and agreement page.
  • If not, try opening up your browser or try again.
  • If all else fails, turn your gear off, back on, and repeat.

Amtrak Wi-Fi home page
You are in!

Step three – you are in!

  • Wait for a few seconds, and this screen should appear.
  • From here, click “Done,”
  • Check out the latest Travels with Kev article, and enjoy the rest of the interwebs. You do not need to check my site, but it’s an idea.

To make things easier, set this network to auto-login. If you no longer want to use Amtrak Wi-Fi, turn off your device’s Wi-Fi or hit the forget network.

Can you use a VPN with Amtrak Wi-Fi?

Yes, Amtrak Wi-Fi allows for VPN traffic on their network.

Amtrak Wi-Fi Speeds and Connectivity

Amtrak’s Wi-Fi speeds vary between trains and can fluctuate along the route. Factors such as the number of passengers using the service and signal strength can impact the connection quality.

Working on an Amtrak train
Lady connects with others while traveling on Amtrak’s Acela, photo Courtesy of Amtrak.

It is essential to remember Amtrak Wi-Fi’s Golden Rule: the service is intended for general web browsing and may not be suitable for heavy data activities.

Amtrak’s Wi-Fi operates on a cell-based system, which means that during your journey, you may encounter dead spots or weak signals, leading to intermittent connectivity or slower speeds in certain areas.

When the train is full of passengers using the internet, the Wi-Fi system may experience slowdowns. Unforeseen circumstances such as last-minute equipment changes or technical glitches could also impact Wi-Fi availability, potentially resulting in no internet service on the train.

The Wi-Fi service may restrict access to ensure a smoother experience for passengers. Activities like downloading large files or streaming videos with mature content may be limited or blocked.

The Wi-Fi signal typically comes from receivers on the café roof or the cab-baggage cars, leading to connectivity issues in tunnels or areas with limited cell service.

What can you and cannot do with Amtrak Wi-Fi?

Jev working on an Amtrak
I bring a hotspot to work while riding in an Amtrak Superliner Roomette.

What Can You Do with Amtrak Wi-Fi?

  • General web browsing
  • Checking and sending emails
  • Social media updates

What Can You Not Do with Amtrak Wi-Fi?

  • Streaming videos (e.g., Netflix, YouTube)
    • Personal Tip: I have tried streaming videos while traveling. Sometimes it works, but buffering often interrupts the experience.
  • Downloading large files
  • Using data-intensive applications (e.g., online gaming)

Amtrak Wi-Fi is designed to support basic online activities. For a smoother experience, download any heavy content before your trip.

Why use Amtrak Wi-Fi

One convenient benefit of using Amtrak Wi-Fi is that it’s free. However, managing your expectations is essential because the service may have limitations or varying quality due to its free status. Also, it’s crucial to note that Amtrak Wi-Fi is unsecured, so you should be cautious and use it at your own risk.

Another advantage of using Amtrak Wi-Fi is that it might be available in areas where your phone service may be unreliable. If this is the case, Amtrak Wi-Fi can provide connectivity if your carrier cannot.

Alternatives to Amtrak Wi-Fi

Some of these suggestions come from my experience, and others are from Amtrak.

Download before you go!

A great travel tip is downloading large files and entertainment before you leave. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature. I learned This helpful trick early on: having a tablet, like an iPad, can provide entertainment while traveling on Amtrak, especially if you download it before you go.

For Work:

  • Download Excel and PowerPoint files you’ll need to work on before your trip.

For Relaxation:

  • Download shows and movies from streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Disney Plus for offline viewing.

Remember, downloaded videos may expire after around 48 hours, so plan accordingly. The amount you can download depends on your device’s available storage. Connecting your device to the internet can sometimes renew your downloads.

If you have a layover, use Wi-Fi to update your entertainment options. Services like Netflix can automatically delete watched shows and download new ones, which is convenient if you can access Wi-Fi during your journey. The other way to do this is to follow the next section and bring Wi-Fi!

Bring your Wi-Fi with you.

If you need Wi-Fi or faster speeds, consider using a personal hotspot or tethering your device to your phone.

Many cell phone plans offer these options with varying data allowances and pricing. Compare plans to find the best coverage and value, especially if you travel frequently.

Monitor your data usage, particularly if you stream videos or use your phone as a hotspot without an unlimited plan. Pay-as-you-go plans can be cost-effective for occasional connectivity.

Remember, like Amtrak’s Wi-Fi, cellular service may be unavailable or weak in some areas regardless of the carrier.

My experience With Amtrak Wi-Fi

I’ve learned to adapt to the availability and reliability of Wi-Fi during my travels by trains, planes, and buses. I approach the service with the mindset that there’s a chance I won’t have it, and I’m happy when I do, mainly if it works well.

Since I work while traveling, I always bring my hotspot, a.k.a. my phone. Amtrak’s Wi-Fi is cell-based, so there might be dead spots along the journey. I try to remain patient and flexible when using it—though I sometimes seem to hit a dead spot just when I need to send or save something.

Preparation is the best way to travel. I download everything I need before heading to the station. Knowing that Chicago Union Station has Wi-Fi, I use the lounge internet or seek alternatives at nearby restaurants, coffee shops, or bars if I need to add another episode of my favorite show.

On a recent journey on the Hiawatha, I stayed connected, posting photos on Instagram, updating apps, and even working on Travels with Kev articles.

Thanks for exploring Amtrak Wi-Fi with me and reading my work.

Remember, if I can travel, so can you. We make memories by taking action, not waiting for life to happen. If you found value in this article and want to support this site, there are several ways to contribute.

Safe Travels!

Kev

Get train travel tips and updates

Join my email list today for exclusive access to my latest articles, travel tips, and Amtrak news.​

Take advantage of the latest updates and exciting travel opportunities.​

See what will appear in your inbox, and sign up now to stay in the loop!

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.