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Amtrak to Add Free WiFi to Acela, Competing With Airlines

The news is that Amtrak will soon be adding free WiFi to Acela Express trains starting in March, and part of that reason is to complete with a rising number of short flights by Delta and US Airways across the Northeast. Acela trains run from Boston to Washington, D.C.

"(But) it's more about our initiatives to add services for our passengers and create a better riding experience," Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole told USA Today.

While some detractors aren't sure that WiFi is enough to lure people on three-hour train rides, perhaps it's more about added value than an actual draw. On other three-hour routes, like the Capital Corridor, which runs from Auburn, Calif. to San Jose, free WiFi is also offered. The Capital Corridor, like Acela, is mainly for commuters riding every day -- but the California route is not a high-speed train and costs $66 roundtrip from Sacramento to San Jose. (Similarly, taking Acela Express from Boston-New York City is approximately $186 roundtrip.)

While the idea of commuting three hours is baffling to many, hundreds of thousands of people do it every day. So perhaps WiFi isn't enough to ensure people take the train, but it sure makes the three or four hours fly by. Well, probably that and the alcoholic beverages.

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