Bluetooth getting on track

Midland Mainline to trial wireless gadgetry on London-Leeds trains

Forgetting the current transport fiasco for a moment, train operator Midland Mainline, is getting into the Bluetooth game.

In March Midland and British Telecommunications (quote: BT) plan to commence trials on the London-Leeds line by testing passenger reaction to the wireless technology, allowing people to connect their laptops, mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) to receive updated timetables, BBC newsfeeds, maps and tourist information.

One hundred passengers will have their gadgets outfitted with Bluetooth chips for the trial, and will be also able to instantly buy tickets from Bluetooth-enabled machines and purchase goods from mobile sales terminals.

By linking to the company's LAN when at a train station, passengers will also be able to send and receive emails, according to Midland Mainline.

The six-month trial is part of Midland's drive to modernise its rolling stock, with new trains on the way for 2004. Sweden's Ericsson, the original driving force behind Bluetooth, has already run trials on Swedish trains.

Bluetooth is designed to replace the cables connecting mobile phones, laptop computers, PDAs and other devices. It is available in a few products now, but is not expected to be affordable until late next year.

Unfortunately Bluetooth technology is unable to make trains run on time.

Soon all your digital devices could be talking to one another, without wires. Find out how with the Bluetooth special

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