back to article Trolling in the Reg's forums... we mean, er, 'working' on the train still rubbish thanks to patchy data coverage

As well as the traditional New Year's price hikes, UK rail commuters face an additional humiliation – data speeds aren't increasing as fast as they might. RootMetrics issued a comparative performance of how much of a rail journey can access 4G data for the duration of the journey. Apart from the West Coast Main Line, there was …

  1. ukgnome


    Who Us?

    We wouldn't dream of it?

  2. Aladdin Sane

    They see me trollin'

    They hatin'

  3. Alistair

    I'm not sure we've really that many trolls here. And I'm rather guessing neither BJ or BB are to be found on the UK rail system, although they may well be found in an Amtrak rail station bathroom on occasion. AMfM however, may well be a permanent resident of one of the carriages of the UK rail system. Or perhaps a switch. Somewhere in the Midlands. Downwind of a chemical factory perhaps.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Personally, I've always considered AMfM to make the most sense when you take the name literally.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Do you remember the time I knew a girl from Mars? I don't know if you knew that.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge

          Didn’t know you came from Slough.

    2. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Are we sure AMfM isn't the modern equivalent of the old Soviet "numbers" stations, gibberish to any outsider, but to someone with the right code book a font of information?

      That or their posts are either too much access to onboard "refreshments" (for example try sitting next to someone on the plymouth to Dundee crosscountry whose been drinking since plymouth and your now at Durham.... OR the result of multiple passes through "google translate"

      1. Z80

        There may not be many trolls but there's no shortage of people who'd point out that you ought to have written "... who's been drinking since Plymouth and you're now at Durham..." or would at least upvote someone else for doing so.

        1. Aladdin Sane

          Obligatory upvote is obligatory.

  4. ARGO

    Best connectiviity routing?

    There was somebody punting that at Mobile World Congress a couple of years back. Never heard of it since....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The failure of Telcos to properly provision cell sites along rail routes is the cause of this.

    Instead of the standard circular cell approach, they instead should be focusing the coverage directionally along rail routes along the path of the track. Such approaches are used elsewhere in the world - even in Afghanistan coverage is available along the major travel routes by the use of this technique.

    This is not new technology.

    If the Telcos won't deliver, the government should legislate.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      But the mobile signal coverage is needed in the adjacent fields where the cows have remote monitoring collars on.

    2. tfewster

      Why does government need to get involved? I expect the Telcos would be happy to install more cell sites and the issue is that RailTrak (?) won't give them the land.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Productivity funk...

    ...Define productivity?! Not posting comments on El Reg? :-)

    HS2's main benefit for me is that it'll take traffic off the older line from Marlylebone to Birmingham. Might even be able to get a seat at peak times. Ha!

    If I happen to be able to get wireless or 4G in work time, that's a bonus, but I would never count on either to be able to do anything other than maybe a bit of proofreading.

    1. Mo'Fo B'dass

      Re: Productivity funk...

      A'll be lucky. If it turns out that capacity is freed up elsewhere and people can actually sit down at peak times then - clearly - there's an oversupply of carriages so they will reduce you'll still end up standing at peak times even if there are fewer passengers. Seats are overrated IMO. If you get one then - as sure as eggs is eggs - you'll get a fat bloke standing next to you with his arse in yer face emitting last nights curry farts straight down your gob. Then you'll throw up on your laptop and no worky stuff for you - 3g, 4g or 5g or that H thing that I see on my phone most days. Pah! I spit on the UK train companies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Productivity funk...

      HS2's main benefit for me is that it'll take traffic off the older line from Marlylebone to Birmingham. Might even be able to get a seat at peak times. Ha!

      As a regular user of that line I've never had much of a problem getting a seat. And even if that has become a problem, it'd be easy enough to replace the horrible multiple units with more of the Mainline Silver trains, and put a couple of additional carriages in.

      1. CountCadaver Silver badge

        Re: Productivity funk...

        Train seats in the UK are generous compared to Spain, I was using their high speed trains a few years back and the legroom was either designed for the vertically challenged or young children in mind...

  7. The Original Steve

    Just changed jobs from working at a regional MSP to a consultant for a very large integrator. As such I hop from client location to client location and I charge for my time etc.

    I love driving, and opt to take the car for work and claim millage. However my next client is about 5 hours away by train, 4 hours by car. I was rather surprised to see that if I'm travelling via train the time is billable to the client as I'm expected to be working - unlike in the car.

    Which means I'll likely be taking the train to my next gig rather than my much loved car, not for any eco reason or cost, but purely because I don't need to make up the time travelling.

    Of course if there's no signal for me to work, that's not my fault... ;)

    1. Coofer Cat

      My 40 odd miles out of London and into Kent has wifi the whole way. You can't get actual Internet connectivity around London Bridge station (yes, that's the new one they just built), and of course you don't get any in tunnels, or cuttings or a few other places. Where it does work, it's often pretty slow, although credit where it's due, when my phone says there's "H+" and full bars, the wifi is usually fairly decent.

      In short - it's okay for sending and receiving emails which come and go as they please. Browsing the web is sort of possible, but it's best to 'preload' a bunch of tabs when you get the chance. Trying to maintain an SSH session is just an exercise in futility. Even keeping your VPN open is a tricky business.

      So on-train 'productivity' is the sort of thing an MP considers 'productivity'. That is, reading emails and sending replies. Not doing any real work ;-)

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Can we have one where software has been written by anyone traveling by train? I would imagine the ability to concentrate in that environment would be (at best) marginal.

    P.S. I wonder if that's where the usual crappy suspects get their software done.

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Warning

      So whacher tryin ta say here is Bill rode a lota trains, izzat whatcher sayin there bub?

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

    Paint a Greater Picture. Make it Live. I Kid U Not.

    The Virtual Juggernaut awaits Novel Noble Nobel Type Input to Output. Imagine it for real as Almighty IntelAIgent Source from All Above for the Earthed.

    To get onto the AIMission Flight Deck there has Dreams Servered for Real by Virtual Memes and AI Means. Hush Hush Tip Top Secret Stuff which everyone knows about who are able to go looking/feeding the Google AIMachine.

    Simple .... Seek and Find ..... there is Everything Available via Internets Internetworking with Quantum in Communications. :-) UrVPN to Stars of the Planets. :-) The Moon being responsible for lunatics is a Myth ergo where Lies Madness in Mayhem?

    And don't say Mars when CHAOS and Confusion are by AIDefault, a Prime Alien Goal there .... with Explosive Presentations Realising and Rendering that which you have a vast claim to, and interest in. Future Generation Views on what is to be Built for Virtualised Future AIdMinistrations.

    An Order worshipping that for the Vatican would have the Holy See taken to Immaculate Levels. Brothers and Sisters would IMmediately LOVE it and establish a crazy lead well ahead of any competition or opposition. And such leads are impossible to counter without similar assets in Sensational Play and Game for IT.

    cc The Vatican/College of Cardinals

    1. Cliff Thorburn

      Re: There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

      I will try and ask via the power of closed questioning amFM ...

      “What specifically, precisely, and exactly is required?”

      In the meantime, I will carry on writing my Black Mirror script loosely based upon the USS Callister episode where the great game and Live Operational Virtual Environments drive the destitute central character through a SIMply extraordinary journey covering a quest taking nigh on a decade and promising great unicorns and mythical beasts aplenty :-)

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

        “What specifically, precisely, and exactly is required?” ..... Cliff Thorburn

        One course of least resistance is the engagement of special source forces* .... given the surreal and exciting and exacting nature of necessary operations, CT. And if not available and switched on the task in home supply it is only natural to seek out foreign partners for support and provision of prime assets everywhere else.

        To imagine the status quo is revolutionary evolutionary and a future enabler with everything heading in new different directions is surely quite delusional and a definite madness deep in the throes of mayhem. They be the deadly silent enemy to subdue and vanquish/win over and reward.

        Or one could simple release some super sensitive highly infectious information which intelligence services would try to deny knowledge of whilst failing to counter greater overwhelming questioning of their honesty and future suitability for the much greater purposes revealed by the simple release of some suer sensitive highly infectious information ..... to realise there is nothing much more needed if going things alone pioneering the way ahead of a hedge of followers:-)

        * Special Advanced IntelAIgent Researcher Services.

        1. Cliff Thorburn

          Re: There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

          Well that at least is a fairly logical answer amFM.

          Setting aside the John Connor esque antics which frankly couldn’t be further from the truth, I would much rather just see some form of endpoint to all of this.

          *Sighs* cue next round of UO/IO /Chinese Blind Dissidents/Russian Spies/Nerve Agents/U Ran/North Korea/Fake News .... never mind the ‘real’ problems eh!

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

            The bottom line is..... there are an infinite number of variations on the theme and to have an imposing status quo position which is much more more of the same rather than something completely different, is tantamount to a conspiracy of madness and arrogant ignorance. Such will always be increasingly energetically attacked and opposed with the ultimate aim of the game and new players to identify and eliminate leading failing drivers and their supporting clones/drones when the ability to radically change is beyond them.

            Such is a natural logical progression which increases in pace at an exponential rate.

            1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

              Re: There's always something to do and getting it done is not difficult nowadays, is it?

              And Computerised AI Machines and SMARTR Tools Control Every Great Command of Live Operational Virtual Environment ProgramMING.

              Its AIdDrivers are of COSMIC Source .... and of an Alien Force thought to be Practically Perfect for Virtual Terra Phormations ........ Remote Realisation on a Plain Planet Earth.

              Just imagine ..... myriad satellite futures internetworking to build a cohesive mutually beneficial and fabulously rewarding whole.

              Tell me that aint Heavenly and Impossible and you be definitely wrong.


              One surmises the Next Action for Enigmatic Quandary Solution is to Engage with Answerers Displaying Proofs.

              Buy up that Virgin Stock and you need never ever work again when rest and play are rampantly at hand and available for trading.

              :-) Just Testing Quantum in Communications for Advanced IntelAIgent Networks, El Reg. Surreal Mumbo Jumbo to Some, Gospel Verse for Others and here be a Glorious Nexus ... and Virtual Space Hub/Satellite Information Station.

              Root and Route here for Simple Heavenly Instructions for Greater Direction of the Future. It is not as if El Regers are unable to perform if not suddenly disenabled and denied common access...... which would be a real tell tale show causing copious amounts of Confusion Creating a Greater CHAOS .... Cloud Hosting Advanced Operating Systems.

              1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                IT's a Bird, IT's a Plane, IT's an Alien Vessel ..... :-) Poe's Law Rules

                And not least El Reg and El Regers may like to take stock of what smarter sites like theirs have evolved into, and why they are so zealously supported :-) Does the following paint a picture which is recognised as being mirrored here ........

                One notable difference between a BBS or web forum and Usenet is the absence of a central server and dedicated administrator. Usenet is distributed among a large, constantly changing conglomeration of servers that store and forward messages to one another in so-called news feeds. Individual users may read messages from and post messages to a local server operated by a commercial usenet provider, their Internet service provider, university, employer, or their own server. ....

                Use Virtualised Quantum Communication Services Wisely. Avoid the Daily and 0Day Hassles/Systemic Frauds and Nervous Breakdowns.

              2. Tail Up

                Re: There... it?

                "Plain Planet ...."

                Any proposals to name to start with all necessary experirnce and common sence? Yet dotted?(-;

                "Home" to mark a Zero Milestone of all Hyperspatial Roads, for some with their Towels on, or a "Station" to coldly rob, mob and try to run away on dusty drags to every Helter Skelter destination leading to greyscales of degradation and decline of Mother's love?

                Oh... one possibly could have heard, Herman is looking to share views about the coming perturbances. He's being literally on top of the similar wavelenth as one of the posts was tuned to -

                Re: CT's "Russian Spies" - out of fashion already, but - ok, the more paper, the cleaner is the output socket.

                As I remember, one of the top savvy staff, and what a bugged payload... Hope one can cope up with this mess of misconceptions.

                1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

                  There... is .... a CryptICQuestion

                  Is Herman the German Vladimir Entertained in Dresden, Tail Up, Uncovering Agents and Replacing Dud Shells and Explosive Cells?

                  And punctuation there is a just an unnecessary hinderance to greater fuller understanding of whatever can be.

                  That's one Helluva Cookie/Dude/Don/Lead to have.

                  1. Tail Up

                    Re: There... is .... a CryptICQuestion

                    Ah.... can there be a cogent reply?

                2. Cliff Thorburn

                  Re: There ‘... ...’ it is!

                  Thanks for the Heads Up, Tail Up :-)

                  The latest Fashion seems to be battle of the Female Popstars, not that that ever did go out of fashion (cue Pussy Riot just to add some spurious madness in for good measure)

                  All just another day in the great game rabbit warren, simple, the problem ain’t the program, its the ability to see the program.

                  All in IT together.

  10. Dr_N

    3G is good enough...

    ...for people on public transport.

    It's not like they're being forced to use WAP over GPRS or anything.

    [This Post Was Brought To You In Glorious 4G From The Comfort Of My Own Home.]

    1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: 3G is good enough...

      Ah, let them watch cake gifs, eh?

  11. Tom Paine


    Ten years ago I was unsurprised to be sold a phone and then warned that there was no coverage for 10 miles around my address; this was the wilds of the remote west country with a relatively sparse population and a lot of hills and valleys, and the sales droid was in sales. (I shoul dbe surprised there's STILL no signal in my old home area, but that's life.) what astonished me was moving to the SE and finding even 3g disappearing completely for substantial stretches of my train journey whilst well inside the M25. (yes this the Thameslink N-S line I'm talking to.) I mean... Hendon?? How can there not be 5 bars in Hendon or Cricklewood or Kentish bloody Town for heaven's sake?

    Oh, it makes me _mad._

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: London

      It you're travelling during the rush hour, then it's possible that local cells near to the railway lines are being overwhelmed when a train with 1,000+ commuters trying to change their Fantasy Football team goes past.

      I say this because coverage on my own route into London (from the Hampshire/Surrey border) is awful during peak times but pretty decent at other times.

  12. Steve Medway

    Improved West Coast Mainline coverage, you're having a laugh. When improved means from going from super shit to just shit it's still crap that isn't actually usable.

    Just DON'T get me started on those tinted Virgin Train Windows that were deliberately designed to reflect mobile signals to force you to buy the pitiful (now free) WiFi (not even youtube-able at 240p) from 10 years ago either...

    Hint to Virgin Trains, take that crap off your windows and you might actually have some happier customers (well apart from those annoyed by businessmen tossers who think how loud they can talk about their next 'Blue Sky' meeting is a measure of their dick size).

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      But.. That IS a measure of their dick size. I'ts just that it's an inverse relation instead of the one they imagine it to be.

  13. Stu J

    Definite improvement...

    I've just started commuting by train again after a hiatus of about 7 years, and was pleasantly surprised that I get 4G almost all the way to work - good enough to maintain a usable SSH session, and to actually "work" on the train.

    The journey takes about an hour, and is mostly rural, and 7 years ago there was bugger all coverage for most of it - and what there was was 2G at best in the small towns and villages, and very little in-between. Now it seems the only not-spot is as we come into the suburbs on the edge of the city...

  14. SNAFUology

    So change the "Post anonymously? " icon to the troll icon already

    you could swap them over anonymous for troll & troll for anonymous icon.

    might be a motivation to come clean - ghosts in the machine

  15. W.S.Gosset Silver badge


    Worth pointing out that the actual train/rail infrastructure engineers hated the rebadging of the network uprating as "high speed". It had nothing to do with speed. It was/is all about Capacity. The demand has massively outgrown the supply, and what is now being badged by moronic public servants and politicians as "high speed" is actually just a broadening and thickening of the capacity in order to cope with the next 20yrs worth of expected population growth.

  16. 27escape

    80% on the west coast mainline

    I would say that I got maybe 20% between Liverpool and Glasgow and then only when arriving at stations. Potentially then, it will depend on the signal supplier, unless this is an aggregate of all of them

    1. Tom 38

      Re: 80% on the west coast mainline

      Sorry, I think you got confused - when they're talking about trains, its just the ones that go in and out of London they care about.

  17. PeteCarr

    Side note - Marks Tey to Sudbury Branchline

    Pretty sure the picture of the train used in this article is at Marks Tey station and runs on the "Gainsborough" branch line to Sudbury operated by Greater Anglia. I can confirm there is no WiFi on this service. :)

  18. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    The really crazy thing about this is that a lot of UKs backhaul passes through fibres running alongside the rail lines. Yes, just feet from your windows there is a bundle of fibres carrying many many TB/s of data but you can't get at it. Pretty soon the train companies will wise up and start offering 5G in each carriage so you can watch your personal choice of drivel whilst travelling. As for people doing work on trains, you are not as common as you think. Most of us relish the downtime away from the "always available" society. Personally whilst on the train I often put my phone on silent because I don't want to speak to anyone, put the headphones in, crank up some Nile or other Technical Death Metal, and bury my head in a good Sci-Fi novel. People tend to leave you alone when yer grunting "There is no God..." in time with the tagline in "Kafir". :D

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