Metro-North running secret Wi-Fi pilot


As the MTA gears up to bring Wi-Fi service to its commuter rail trains, The Post reports today that one train car is already equipped with service, but the MTA isn’t saying which one. Annie Karni says the MTA is a running a “covert, three-month pilot program” during which one car on the New Haven Line will enjoy Wi-Fi service. The car, she reports, has “an outside antenna that receives a cellular signal from AT&T. Inside the car, a router converts cell service to Wi-Fi.”

For its part, the MTA is holding back on revealing which car it is yet because the service is, in the words of an agency spokesperson, “not ready for prime time.” All New Haven Line riders should now furiously check their laptops and smart phones for an open wireless network while heading back home.

In other Wi-Fi news, The Post says the MTA is “currently reviewing three proposals to carry Wi-Fi throughout the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road systems and to provide 32-inch digital screens in cars for advertising and real-time updates about schedules and delays.” According to this report, installing these screens could cost up to $38,000 per car, a figure which seems absurdly high. I know retrofitting older rolling stock with new technology carries significant costs, but considering the price of a digital screen, that one seems excessive to me.

7 Responses to “Metro-North running secret Wi-Fi pilot”

  1. BBnet3000 says:

    “I know retrofitting older rolling stock with new technology carries significant costs”I know retrofitting older rolling stock with new technology carries significant costs”

    What older rolling stock? Isn’t Metro North in the process of replacing nearly its entire fleet? Please dont tell me this is yet another “obsolete from day 1” American transit experience.

    • Walter says:

      The new M8 cars are not going to make up a majority of the New Haven Line fleet until about 2013; even then it’s likely some 40-year-old M2s, along with the triplet 30-year-old M4s and 25-year-old M6s, will make up a large part of the fleet.

      Which is fine by me- the older equipment is much more comfortable.

  2. Alon Levy says:

    It’d be very convenient, especially if there were outlets. The MBTA wisely provides wi-fi on all trains, but has no outlets, and that puts a sharp limit on how much I can use my computer, especially if I’ve just used it a lot.

  3. pete says:

    I’m betting its an M8. Thats narrows it down alot.

  4. hal p says:

    if its AT&T service, no need to worry about which one. the answer is zero trains will have working wi-fi. same as before.

  5. JP says:

    I really, really don’t want a 38″ tv blaring at me on my commute. It’s loud enough with cheap-headphone wearers, video-gaming phoners, and obnoxious outside-voice conversationalists. You want to add Simon Cowell to that too? Sigh.


  1. […] car on the New Haven line of Metro-North that has a secret. A secret called “Wi-Fi.” Via Second Avenue Sagas, the MTA is keeping mum about which car it is because service is “not ready for prime […]

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