The number of train travellers using Wi-Fi on Great North Eastern Rail (GNER) has reached 500,000, according to a survey carried out by the rail company.

The research says travellers are using on-board Wi-Fi for a range of purposes, including online shopping, business and catching up on news.

In October 2006 GNER became the first UK train operator to roll out Wi-Fi across its entire fleet of trains. Since then the number of passengers using Wi-Fi on GNER trains each month has seen a 77 percent increase.

The GNER Wi-Fi usage poll was carried out on GNER trains during February and March this year. A list of activities was given to 355 GNER users, who then ticked the ones they participated in during their journey.

The results from GNER’s research have also shown that 85 percent work whilst they are on-board trains. However train travellers aged under 25 are most likely to be using Wi-Fi to shop online, with nearly one in five visiting sites such as Amazon.

The results also showed that the hardest workers are in the East Midlands, with 90 percent using Wi-Fi for work purposes. The most sociable train travellers are in the North East and Scotland, with 68 percent using it to keep in touch with friends and family. It also found that 16 percent of all users log on on-board to keep up to date with the latest sports scores.

Alan Hyde, Head of Communications for GNER said, “It’s great to see that GNER travelers are embracing the digital revolution and using Wi-Fi for a whole host of different purposes, whether checking emails or shopping for the latest bargains. The poll of GNER customers provides a benchmark for how Brits will be using Wi-Fi on the move in the future, as others follow our lead.”

The Wi-Fi service on GNER trains is free to first class ticket holders. Prices for Standard Class travellers range from £2.95 for half an hours’ use to £9.95 for 24 hours’ use.