Broadband News

Virgin Trains release Wi-Fi on West Coast Main Line

Virgin Trains have teamed up with T-Mobile to be the latest train operator to offer wireless Internet onboard it's Pendolino trains that run the West Coast Main Line services. The service providers a broadband Internet connection throughout the entire journey, including all tunnel sections and is free to those travelling in first class.

Subscribers to T-Mobile's Hotspot service will be able to use the service as per any other Hotspot, and for those without a subscription, pay as you go options are available that offer access for fixed periods of time. Virgin plan to have upgraded its Super Voyager trains to support the Wi-Fi service from Summer 2009.


I was recently on one of these trains and my iPhone picked up the wireless signal as did lots of other iPhones people had on this train. I wonder how many iPhone and Blackberry users are missing out on this. Maybe Virgin should have thought about what network to use on their trains.

  • robertb24
  • over 11 years ago

National Express (East Coast Mainline) have let ALL users have Free WiFi for a while now - I was using it on the way to Leeds a couple of months back. So why exactly is having to pay for a service that a rival gives access to for free.

  • haydnwalker
  • over 11 years ago

Typical "First Class" snobbery, better off going MBB

  • Pigmaster
  • over 11 years ago

well look at this Iphone snobs...

yes, iphone users just want to look 'cool'...
they dont want to use a plugin media card, use MMS, take 3gp video - flash?? who needs it???
they dont want those complex 3 or 5 Mpixel things, 2M is enough!!
- filemanager, cut & paste, wassat???
they trust that if apple says no fancy stuff like nokia has, they are right...

Even the now aging N95 has more...
check the specs..

  • comnut
  • over 11 years ago

@haydnwalker:Yup. I once got a connection while we were overtaking the Oxford Tube. That was a couple of years ago.

  • AndrueC
  • over 11 years ago

The iPhone will connect to any WiFi; I can't see anything on Virgin's site that would prevent this other than the service is charged for outside of first class. I don't know about T-Mobile hotspots but if they're anything like BT Openzone, a mobile broadband dongle (or iPhone 3G) is probably faster. I used an O2 dongle recently on a west coast journey, apart from tunnels it worked superbly.

  • bosie
  • over 11 years ago

I 'll be the one sitting in the doorway of the first class carriage.

  • mikeblogs
  • over 11 years ago

The price they charge for a ticket they ought to provide free laptops too.

  • meldrew
  • over 11 years ago

quote"The price they charge for a ticket they ought to provide free laptops too."

LOL Pretty true in some regard, infact id apply that to any train company.

  • over 11 years ago

I use the wifi from NXEC when traveling with them, like - now.

I notice the article calls it broadband on the Virgin Trains service - The band is not always so broad on the NXEC service!

It very rarely drops though. Much less hassle then mobile broadband via a dongle it seems.

NXEC did offer it to only first class users but did change that some time ago.

  • sean2003
  • over 11 years ago

I've used it before - it's slow, but fine for web browsing and email. Which is all my old laptop can handle anyway...

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 11 years ago

I hate people using their phones on trains - they're all a bunch of wankers!

  • chusan01
  • over 11 years ago

Virgin should concentrate first on getting the basics right, like clean toilets. I also detest phone users on trains.

  • duncombe
  • over 11 years ago

"uninterrupted connectivity" is a bit of a misnomer. I used the service for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Yes - you stay connected to the local AP on the train in tunnels, but the external connection stalls.

  • gpmh79
  • over 11 years ago

Great North Eastern Railway ("GNER") used to charge Standard Class passengers to use their Wi-Fi service. However, there was nothing to stop Standard Class ticket holders from sitting in the First Class restaurant car, ordering food, and tapping into the free Wi-Fi. On journeys from London to Leeds/Newcastle, where there was only one sitting for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the key was to eat very slowly! The service was useless for Skype calls and very slow outside of major urban areas. As soon as National Express took over they offered free Wi-Fi to Standard-Class travellers as well.

  • SimonKemp
  • over 11 years ago

Southern Railway used to offer paid-for T-Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi on selected trains between London and Brighton but apparently so many passengers have 3G dongles now that the service is no longer viable. On Southern, power points for laptops are available only in First Class accommodation.

  • SimonKemp
  • over 11 years ago

I used it a couple of weeks ago - the only problem I found was that it was a german T-Mobile feed. No problem with, but I couldn't get the BBC TV onlne.

  • Amnesia_uk
  • over 11 years ago

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