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Amtrak Offers Free – Yes, Free! – WiFi on Acela Trains; Status as Greatest Means of Transportation in U.S. Now Sealed

I love the Acela.  If you’ve taken the Acela, you love it to.  It is everything travel should be – comfortable, convenient and (at least for the U.S.’ non-high-speed-rail lines) fast.  There are plugs at every seats.  Seats have more than ample legroom.  You are not molested upon boarding.  You can arrive 1 minute before the train leaves.  There is a quiet car where other people – just like me – go completely freaking nuts if you so much as whisper into a cellphone.  How much do people like it?  Your $400 ticket does not include a soda.  And nobody complains about that.

And now  – finally – Amtrak enters the 21st century and will offer free (yes, free!) Wi-Fi on all Acela trains, and in stations along the way.  This made my day.  You can have your first class suites on Singapore.  I’ll take the Acela, thanks.

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  1. That is super cool news, though with Amtrak’s financial woes, maybe they should charge a little something for it. Hopefully they’re making money off it somehow. Oh and don’t type too loudly in the Quiet Car…I’ve been shushed for that. (I admit to being a fairly violent typist.)

  2. I’d love to use Acela more often, and it is ideal if you live in the city (Boston/NYC/DC) and are traveling to another city’s downtown. But from the suburbs you need to commute into the city, which can be a real problem if you have as little as a rollaboard. It’s not a big deal if you can get on the T or metro in Boston or DC suburbs, but a real problem for NJ Transit. The alternative, Newark’s Penn Station, is not terribly safe at night, and there is no convenient long term parking. And what if you’re not going to Boston/NYC/DC, but to suburban New England/NY-NJ-CT/DC-MD-VA suburbs? How do you rent a car on the other end? The end-to-end infrastructure is much more complete for airports than train stations in this country.

  3. Why, Avi, you ask your wife to pick you up at Newark Penn Station, then you laugh as she tells you how she mistakenly ended up in Manalapan instead, as there are no signs for Newark Penn Station until you are 1/2 a block from said facility.

  4. Yeah, Acela is great.

    If you are spending other people’s money.

    And need to go downtown.

    So politicians spend other people’s money to subsidize it. And then passengers spend other people’s money to ride it.

    And taxpayers? Aw, who cares about the little people?

  5. I know you’re just being provocative, but:

    1) Yes the government subsidizes Amtrak. It also subsidizes the roads we drive on. And the sugar we put in soda. And it has owned parts of airlines to keep them from bankruptcies. And allowed other airlines to go bankrupt to eliminate costly contracts. And give all manner of tax rebate and writeoffs to help those corporations. Do I wish we could support train travel without government subsidy? Of course. But that’s not the case.

    2) The little people can take the $10 buses that leave every 3 minutes between NYC and Washington and, in many cases, also offer free wi-fi. Those are an even better deal.

    3) A first class ticket on Delta NYC-WAS is $529 roundtrip, making that Acela train seem like a steal. :)

  6. Yup, I’m being “provocative,” but should Government Train, Inc. really run a train that mere mortals couldn’t possibly afford to ride? I’d certainly object if there was a Government Airline that ran a first-class only airplane.

    Of course, I suspect that Acela is probably one of Amtrak’s more “profitable” operations. True waste is found in long distance rail service through various congressional districts. I recall it costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars per pax on some of those trains. Heck, they’ve subsidized my rail junkets. I’ve taken the kids (for free) on comfy transcon sleeper car rides converting a modest amount of CO miles just because I could (“look kids, this is how people used to get around the country”).

  7. Now all they need is a train that goes 200 MPH

  8. One way to get to Newark Penn Station ought to be car services, but they actually charge more to go there than to go to EWR (which is roughly the same distance) and none of the drivers I’ve ever used knew how to get there.

  9. $400 dollar ticket for a train ride – – they must be nuts…..If you want quiet – – bring earplugs.

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