Starting this Fall, all Amtrak trains may have free wireless Internet access. WiFi access, which is currently available on the Acela trains in the northeast, has been a huge hit; 39 percent of riders have logged in to date. With those kinds of stats, the rail company is planning to offer access on all of its trains nationwide. While the northeast trains are relatively easy to wire because of their set amount of cars and ample cell phone reception, trains operating outside of major metropolitan areas may have some difficulty. Additionally, many trains change configuration during any given trip, adding and subtracting cars from station to station. Any wireless capabilities would have to be able to withstand these challenges.
Now that I'm used to in-flight WiFi, not having it for a train trip seems like a huge inconvenience. Even though I understand why wiring a train is so challenging, there's something so counter intuitive about being able to access the Internet 30,000 feet above the earth but not while you're on the ground.