How does WiFi work on our trains?

Giving you the lowdown on how to make the most of your journey

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Everyone travels differently. Some of our passengers prefer spending the journey taking a power nap, getting lost in a good book, or simply watching the great British landscape whizz by. For others, it’s a chance to ping a reply to a work email, send a few tweets or catch up on something juicy.

When you’re travelling with us, we want to make sure you’re comfy, you’re fed and watered, and that you make the most of your time onboard. What better way to do that than getting connected to our new and improved WiFi?

Train WiFi can be slow: we get it. That’s why we’ve been transforming our onboard digital experience, making WiFi free across all of our services and improving speeds so you can get down to the important things, like that fresh new insta photo. And since you’re not able to stream on board, we’ve made our BEAM entertainment service free: with enough fresh TV shows and movies for even the seasoned commuter to see something new every time you travel.

We want to keep you in the loop, so let’s dig a little deeper into how this all looks on our trains.

How does WiFi on trains work?

The good news is that it’s really simple to connect to onboard WiFi. There’s now an easy three step process for getting connected:

  1. Choose our VirginTrainsFreeWifi network on your device (we don’t mess around with names, right?

  2. Connect to the hub with a pop-up, or by going to via your browser

  3. Enjoy your internet! That’s it - there’s nothing more you need to do.

Once you’re on, you’ll be directed to our VTHub homepage, which gives you access to Track and Travel - great for journey updates - and BEAM, for making the journey more entertaining.

Train WiFi is faster than it’s ever been, but we’re still whizzing through the countryside at 125mph, so there will be times when the connection is just a little slower than you’re used to. Or if you’re on a busy train, we can sometimes experience jostling as everyone gets that last work email in. Because we rely on the country’s existing network for our onboard WiFi connection, and to make it easier for you to use your travel time as work time, the UK Government announced in 2014 that an investment of more than £53 million was coming to improve connection points along tracks and on trains. We’ve been working over the last few years to bring this upgrade to you, and we’re on track (sorry, couldn’t resist) to provide this on as many of our services as possible.

Of course, there are some things we just can’t change: going through tunnels, which are a classic WiFi killer. When that happens, it’s time to turn to our onboard entertainment service, BEAM.

BEAM: onboard entertainment, on us

Train too busy to get a good signal? Want to watch something to take your mind off the commute? BEAM’s got you covered. Our free onboard entertainment service gives you access to hundreds of hours of the best TV and movies out there, and you don’t need to worry about staying connected. 

BEAM works by taking advantage of an onboard computer to get around those pesky things like tunnels and other passengers to bring you a variety of entertainment options, and it’s updated daily for those of you who take the train to work. Bearing in mind that you can’t use streaming services - it’s too data intensive for onboard WiFi - BEAM gives you the opportunity to make your journey go just that bit faster. 

Finish your journey before you finish your show? We’ll remember where you are so you can get right back into it next time. Clever.


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