As the economy sours and as we all become more ecological or "green" one of the trends that we're seeing on both coasts here in the USA is the increase in ridership of trains, both commuter and long haul.
Growing up on the east coast I regularly took the Metroliner between Philadelphia and New York City for meetings or to see my girlfriend at the time who lived in Manhattan. Here on the west coast the Amtrak Surfliner is a regular mode for me to get to Los Angeles or Santa Barbara or the Capital Corridor train from Sacramento to San Francisco or San Jose. I also take the train from SF sometimes depending where meetings are in Silicon Valley vs. always driving.
So this story out of Japan is very timely. You see, with an increase in ridership on trains, comes an increase in business riders. That means there is the need for WiFi on trains, especially since the coverage for 3G along the rails is so spotty here.
I've had first had experience on the Heathrow Connect via T-Mobile in London. It works. 15 minutes of high speed travel and connectivity from Heathrow Airport to Paddington Station. The sheer feeling of clearing out my inbox, changing a lunch reservation or reconfirming a meeting is so relaxing. But so is making a Skype call or even a SightSpeed video call from the moving train.
The folks at Amtrak should take note. Some WiFi operator or mobile operator likely wants the business. Hopefully they give it to them because staying connected on the trains means more business and business traveler for Amtrak.