Eurostar International is looking to install onboard information systems and Internet connectivity for passengers on its trains.
According to the EU Tenders website, the train company is also planning to install an onboard entertainment system. Eurostar is looking for suppliers of these solutions for a minimum 14 train-sets, with an option for a further 14 train-sets.
The new systems could help to address some of the criticisms made against Eurostar following travel chaos experienced by passengers last Christmas, when snow caused trains to breakdown in the Channel Tunnel. Eurostar and Eurotunnel, which operates the Channel Tunnel, were heavily criticised for poor communications with the trains, leaving passengers stranded and uninformed on what was happening.
While Eurostar does not allude to last year's problems in the notice, it says it is looking for passenger systems “for regulatory and commercial reasons”. These systems will show information such as destination information and seat reservation statuses, which will be fed through to external and interior displays.
In the event of another similar problem, the new systems could allow Eurostar to give passengers updates, it is understood. And the internet connectivity would allow passengers to check what was happening.
In addition, Eurostar would like to install a secure wireless LAN that will enable passengers to view or download pre-loaded entertainment or information to their own devices from anywhere in the train.
As an option, Eurostar is also looking for a supplier to provide external connectivity to the Internet for passengers. As well as being capable of broadband-type communication, Eurostar said that the solution must work effectively in all the countries that the train company operates in, and provide seamless switchover at international borders. Furthermore, the system would have to work at 300kmph and be suitable for a high-speed train environment.
Separately, Eurostar is also looking to replace its existing loyalty software with an “off-the-shelf” application. The new application would need to have all the core functionalities of the train company’s existing software, which includes management of members and earning and redemption of points.