Amtrak issues RFQ for Wi-Fi in all trains

Amtrak has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a communications platform including passenger Wi-Fi in its trains all over the US. Amtrak will issue another RFQ shortly after this one to support automated on-board signage, announcements and end-of-car displays that use the communications platform. Then it will issue a national task order RFP. Below is an excerpt from the RFQ.

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1. Purpose of Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Amtrak is seeking to identify a complete technology solution that will serve as an onboard communications platform (the “Platform”). The Platform will include a robust, self-healing, self-configuring onboard network and associated equipment that forms the foundation to support two primary services: (1) Wi-Fi for passengers and (2) a secure Wi-Fi channel for Amtrak business needs to support on-board transactions (such as ticketing or on-board sales). In addition, the system will be capable of supporting automated onboard electronic informational displays and announcements, content caching and delivery (e.g., for custom content as well as audio and video entertainment), and other business services.

Amtrak envisions that the Platform will include at its core a wireless and wired infrastructure, a communications control unit, and an off-board multi-technology communications system. The Platform will be supported through a hardened data center that will be capable of real-time monitoring and reporting on the Platform and related services.

The established Platform will be used as the basis for an ongoing national standard for all of the trains in the Amtrak fleet and, at Amtrak Rail Partners’ option, for their fleets as well. Hereinafter, Amtrak and Rail Partners shall be collectively referred to as Amtrak.

1.1 Selection Process

The selection process includes three elements: two RFQs followed by a National Request for Proposal (RFP). Amtrak will use the RFQs to select core national technology standards which will subsequently be procured and implemented through the National RFP, as follows:

• RFQ 1: Communications Platform, including Passenger Wi-Fi: This first RFQ seeks responses from vendors for the on-board Communications Platform, including: (a) onboard train communications network, (b) Wi-Fi for passenger and business use; and (c) content caching and support for future applications as noted under RFQ 2. Requirements for RFQ 1 are detailed in Sections 2 and 4.

• RFQ 2: Onboard Train Information Systems (OTIS): The second RFQ, which will shortly follow the first, will seek qualifications from vendors for OTIS. The OTIS will utilize the Communications Platform identified in RFQ 1 to support automated on-board signage and announcements and end-of-car displays.

• RFP for Solutions Implementation: Once the core technologies are identified through the RFQ process, a national task order RFP will be issued which will establish master contracts with a series of installers who will, with participation of the core technology vendors, equip specific trains with the respective Communications Platform and OTIS systems.

At Amtrak’s option, the RFP phase will include one or two RFPs. If two RFPs are issued, each RFP will correspond to either RFQ1 or RFQ2. If only one RFP is issued, that RFP will encompass all features of the proposed on-board technologies. The RFP will result in a selection of a set of vendors qualified to work on a task-order basis to install, operate and maintain these systems for Amtrak across the United States.

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I don’t know where this RFQ is available officially from the Amtrak site. If you do please send me the URL.


  1. The RFQ has the following statement:

    List of Attachments

    Attachment 1 – Specification for Components to be Installed on High Speed Train Sets
    Attachment 2 – Amtrak Car Specification Diagrams
    Attachment 3 – Environmental and Operating Conditions

    Please provide the attachment.