Amtrak is promising better Wi-Fi service in Virginia as ridership in the state ticks up.
Amtrak has already begun testing better onboard equipment, similar to what is used on Acela trains, and Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation said it helped during about three months of testing that began in February.
“Starting this summer, passengers on Virginia-sponsored trains will begin to see ‘immediate and noticeable improvement,'” according to a department presentation.
Amtrak is updating the hardware on Virginia services by the end of September. The upgrades will also benefit riders who take those trains only north of Union Station through Maryland toward New York and Boston.
Reviews concluded that the problem was not tied to signal strength from cell towers along Virginia’s tracks.
Additional Wi-Fi speed upgrades are planned next year.
The Wi-Fi fixes are one of several promised improvements in response to complaints. Others include better communication from conductors when there are delays, more cleaning of trains and additional food options in cafe cars.
Ridership on Amtrak in Virginia is up 5.1% overall this budget year compared to the same period a year earlier.
State and Amtrak officials recently reshuffled the schedule to better accommodate riders when they added a second daily train serving Norfolk, and trains have also faced somewhat fewer delays due to the completion of the most disruptive parts of one major construction project and other changes.
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