A few news outlets picked up a statement from NewYorkology last week that implied Amtrak was looking into on-board Internet service: But when you read the statement, it's not quite what some sites are making it out to be. "Amtrak continues to explore options which will ultimately allow us to offer Wi-Fi service to our passengers," is what Cliff Cole of Amtrak reportedly said via email.
Given that the organization still claims to be offering Wi-Fi in several northeast corridor stations, even though correspondent Klaus Ernst has seemingly confirmed that the service is gone (and T-Mobile never gave me an official statement on the matter), it's hard to know what that means.
There are now several functioning Internet-on-rails systems around the world, so there should be many more choices to pull from, especially on the most popular northeast Amtrak routes. It's also possible that the organization could use a relatively small amount of funding to create a trial or two, and test customer willingness to pay.
Amtrak saw a large uptick in ridership, as did most public transit systems, during the similar uptick in gas and oil prices. With people out of work, it's likely that trains will be used even more if competitive with the costs of driving.
Trains still have a unique advantage in most U.S. cities that have service in providing stations right in the middle of towns; airports, you have both the security theater delays and the process of estimating 90 to 120 minutes to get somewhere that's 30 minutes away to give yourself 30 to 120 minutes before a flight leaves.