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Railhub Archive
2004-07-05 GNE-001


GNER moves ahead with tomorrow's technology - today

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GNER moves ahead with tomorrow's technology - today

5 July 2004
source GNER
type Press release

Standard joins First Class and gets connected on East Coast trains

TRAIN operator GNER is to expand its successful scheme to provide wireless internet on board its East Coast Main Line services.

Trials of the new technology on board First Class coaches in selected trains have now proved so successful that plans have now been confirmed to expand the service to more trains – and to make it available to both First and Standard Class passengers.

Passengers throughout the train will be able to read and send emails, check the latest news and sports results and even shop online – and of course, check the latest train service information – while they travel.

GNER is the first UK rail company to achieve this technological breakthrough, by providing uninterrupted wi-fi coverage while travelling at speeds of up to 125 miles per hour. No other UK rail company has yet been able to do this in a moving vehicle.

The first train to feature wireless internet capability throughout its length will be launched into service on Tuesday, 6 July.

More will follow throughout the summer in what will be the largest project of its kind in the world to date. GNER plans to have ten ‘Mallard’ trains offering wireless internet throughout in service by the end of the year. The new technology is being installed as part of the total rebuild of all 302 coaches which will make up the complete ‘Mallard’ fleet.

GNER chief executive Christopher Garnett says: “Wireless internet is already proving invaluable to our business customers as a means of transforming train time into more productive working time.

“The technology also has major potential to create a more enjoyable leisure time experience on our trains, and that’s one of the major reasons why we’re now making it available throughout our new look trains.”

Trains offering wireless internet will be clearly marked with window stickers and notices explaining how to take advantage of the facility – while a dedicated website, offers hints and tips on making the most of wi-fi on the move. The website is the single port for all information regarding the wi-fi service.

First Class passengers can enjoy the benefits of wireless internet included in their fare, while Standard Class customers will pay a small supplementary charge, the amount depending on how long they wish to remain online – a similar principle to an internet café.

Christopher Garnett explains: “Providing a customer has a wi-fi enabled laptop, they can log on and use the service. They can surf the web, send and receive emails and, if Virtual Private networks are in place, access their corporate networks.

“When Standard Class users log on, they can pay the access charge using a credit card. A passcode will then be issued online to allow direct access to the wireless internet service”.

A helpline staffed by GNER’s own team of IT experts will be available to assist first-time users with the system – and should they verify a fault, the passenger will be given a credit to use the service free the next time they travel with GNER.

GNER is confident that the expanded wireless internet service will prove invaluable to both business and leisure travellers – and will encourage both to take the train instead of driving or flying, remaining in touch with the world throughout the journey and helping to create the ultimate travel experience for every customer.

A colour graphic showing how the wireless internet system work sis available on request from the GNER Press Office. We also have a selection of pictures showing the wireless internet system in action during the recent successful ‘Silver Surfers’ Day’ event on board a GNER ‘Mallard’ train.

Prices for the new wireless internet service in Standard Class will be:

30 minutes; use: £2.95
60 minutes’ use: £4.95
120 minutes’ use: £7.95
180-plus minutes’ use: £9.95

According to telecoms analysts BWCS, within five years 625 million people will be travelling on wi-fi enabled trains around the world.

The ‘Mallard’ redesign and rebuild of all 302 of GNER’s Mark 4 carriages is a £30 million ongoing project to deliver a more comfortable and reliable journey for passengers. The interiors are totally transformed to deliver the following: extra legroom in Standard saloons; new contoured seats with better back support and flip-up arm rests; a new café-bar; new toilets; new carpets, tables, trim, lighting and luggage racks; power sockets for laptops; an extra wheelchair space and a new contemporary internal colour scheme.

GNER became the first train operator in the UK to trial the on-train, on-line wireless internet service at high speed: since then considerable passenger research has been undertaken and passenger reaction to the system has proved highly positive.

Railhub Archive ::: 2004-07-05 GNE-001


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