Speeds will be at least 10 times faster than those currently on most services, with part of the development funded by the recent £53.1m fine imposed on National Rail
Commuters are set to benefit from improved WiFi speeds as part of the government’s plan to spend £90 million to boost internet use and phone signal on trains.
Under the new plans, train users will experience speeds at least ten times faster than those currently available on most services. Some of the development will be funded by the £53.1 million fine imposed on Network Rail by the Office of Rail Regulation for late trains.
Network Rail say commuters will be able to get a stronger connection through equipment purposely built alongside the track to provide signal. The work is expected to start immediately and is expected to be finished by 2017.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We all know how frustrating it can be to have our phone calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal while travelling on trains. At the moment it happens too often. Passengers expect and deserve better and with these plans, that is what they’ll get.”
The additional upgrade is intended to compliment work that is currently ongoing to increase phone signal on train journeys by improving infastructure trackside. The upgrades will initially be focussed on busy commuter and metropolitan lines, a statement from the government indicated.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “ The announcement that we are providing free Wi-Fi on trains means people can more easily work and keep up with friends while on journeys.
“As well as the steps we have already taken to make train travel as affordable and efficient as possible we hope free Wi-Fi will encourage even more people to make the greener choice and travel by train.”
Network Rail were fined the record amount after more than one in 10 commuter trains in the south-east and London ran late last year, with just 86.9% of long distance trains running on time against a 92% target.