Passengers across Wales can now benefit from free Wi-Fi on all Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) services thanks to Welsh Government funding and The Department for Transport.
The £1.5m Welsh Government investment means the whole ATW fleet including Pacer trains, Class 153’s, and the carriages used on the north-south Express have now been retrofitted to provide free-to-use Wi-Fi for all passengers.
Tom Joyner, Managing Director for Arriva Trains Wales said: “The fact all our customers will be able to use our free wi-fi on every single one of our trains is brilliant news and we are delighted to mark the completion of the project.
“We know how important connectivity is and being able to be productive during your journey, check your onward travel plans or simply catch up on social media will make a real difference to our customers.”
“Customers have frequently been asking for Wi-Fi on-board our trains and this has been a really significant project which has taken careful planning and hundreds of staff hours to deliver successfully without impacting on services.”
Speaking at a launch event to mark the completion of the on train Wi-Fi project, Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said: “This rollout should be a real boon to commuters and business users alike. I expect it to make a real contribution to our ambitions for a growing economy with strong businesses in productive regions set out our Prosperity for All Economic Action Plan”
“Importantly, our investment means that Pacer trains, Class 153’s, and the carriages used on our north-south Express all now have free-to-use Wi-Fi for all passengers. These trains amount to almost one-third of the fleet.
“This is another example of our strong record of investment in the current rail franchise where we continue to fund additional services and capacity across Wales.”
Bandwidth on board can vary depending on the overall strength of the 4G network, but speeds are ‘generally more than adequate’ for checking emails and browsing the internet, with each customer able to access 20mb of high speed internet per 24 hours – ATW say connection speed drops following initial 20mb allocation ensuring all customers can have access to good connection speeds.
The initial phase of fitment was funded by Department for Transport, but the final phase which includes completion of the whole ATW fleet was funded by the Welsh Government.
For those who like technical detail, ATW supplied the following information on the fit out and funding:
Welsh Government funding of £1.5 million provided for the full fleet to be fitted, including the following vehicles:
– 30 x “Pacers” – Class 142/143 two carriage units which run as two or four car trains (60 carriages in total) – used mainly on Valley Lines
– 8 x Class 153 single car trains (8 carriages) used on Cardiff Bay, City Line between Coryton and Radyr via Cardiff Central, Heart of Wales line between Swansea and Shrewsbury via Llandrindod, and elsewhere
– 12 Mark 3 carriages (12 carriages) used on north-south Express
– 3 Driver Van Trailers – locomotive power for the north-south Express, which require fitment to enable WiFi on carriages to operate
Total – 83 carriages/vehicles
The Department for Transport funding covered the ATW Class 150, 158 and 175 trains used on the remainder of the network – a total of 190 carriages.