How to get free WiFi on East Coast trains

Bitterwallet - East Coast featuredBitterwallet - East Coast logoWe've long been of the opinion that since East Coast began charging for WiFi on board its trains, the service is no better than when it was was free. East Coast PR claimed they'd performed all sorts of technical wizardry to ensure consistent, high-speed access, whereas is reality it couldn't pull the skin off a rice pudding.

And of course the pricing makes no sense at all, given that the route stretches from Glasgow to London; £4.95 for an hour or £9.95 for 24 hours - chances are you'll be paying top whack, then. "But what about 15 minutes of free WiFi, Bitterwallet?" If it worked, that'd be great - but even opening your email is like waiting for a horse to solve Fermat's Last Theorem.

So here's some homework for those travelling the route on a regular basis, posted recently in the comments by avid Bitterwallet reader Iain. Let us know how you get on:

If you want to utilise the free East Coast WiFi service for more than 15 minutes then you will have to change your MAC address. The system works out your device based on the network cards MAC address so keep changing that and you will get free net for your journey.

I have been sitting on East Coast WiFi for free for the past hour now and no issues other than the annoyance of having to re-connect every 15 minutes.

If you’re using a Mac then you want to find an app called “ChangeMAC” on CNET and it will sort you right out.

If it isn’t working for you then make sure the MAC address you are trying to set begins with 00:23: otherwise it definitely won’t work on Lion.

If you’re on a PC then google “change mac address windows” and you will find all you need.

Enjoy the free WiFi!


  • SW
    Also, for the lazy, if you start something downloading/streaming before the time limit comes up, it'll keep going - it only realises the time limit is up if you change page/site.
  • Richard
    That's a pretty good tip considering Lion hasn't been released yet.
  • Bazinga
    It depends how clever your horse is.
  • Bob
    Maybe he meant Lions
  • axisofevil
    For Linux:- see Note the ancientness of the web page...
  • Paul
    Enjoying free use of a service you are asked to pay for................ isn't there a word for that?
  • br04dyz
    @Paul....yep, its called marriage!
  • Pall
    This would be great, don't you have to do some kind of registration/login before you can use it? How do you go about doing it with the login etc?
  • skippy
    what about opening a VPN on the free bit; and keeping it open?
  • Keiran
    @skippy, when I activate Expat Shield pages won't load. I'm not sure if it's just me or my laptop but it's not happening. Thanks to the author for the original tip though!
  • Ben
    @Paul. It's not as criminal as East Coast charging £4.95 for 1 hours worth of unacceptable poor quality wifi, after you have just paid £292 for a return ticket! Especially when I get a better Internet connection on my phone for no extra fee. What nobody has mentioned is, even after paying £4.95 per hour, East Coast wifi is limited to the most basic of websites. For example, video from BBC news or Youtube will not work.
  • Josie
    I'm on an East Coast train right now, and the wifi is really pants. The only good thing about it is my frustration led me to this site and the horse solving Fermat comment made me laugh out loud
  • David
    Better hack: connect to the wifi while seated in first class, then move to standard class. It thinks you are still in first class, and so you get free wifi the whole journey.
  • RSol
    on train now (scotland to london) network is ok . Ive got cookie self destruct and ghostery (a tracker blocker) and the 15 mins ran out an hour ago still goin been downloading snes roms and all
  • melj
    Does anyone have a wifi code unused/spare (maybe from loyalty scheme) that they would graciously give me for tomorrow afternoon? Thanks!
  • Alessandro
    Thanks for your blog post, another suggestion is to clear the browser cookies as I believe they keep track of the 'expired' connections.

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