1370 Ontario St. - Mezzanine, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Secretary-Treasurers
Information
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Train station security checks start this week

(The following article by Bruce Landis was posted on the Providence Journal website on November 21.)

WARWICK, R.I. -- The federal Transportation Security Administration will begin this week sporadic patrols at the state’s railroad stations for explosive devices, the head of the agency’s Rhode Island office said yesterday.

Joseph S. Salter, head of the TSA’s office at T.F. Green Airport, said the initiative reflects a broadening of the agency’s focus to pay more attention to surface transportation rather than a response to information about a threat.

The improved security will not be at the level applied to air travel. Passengers will periodically see uniformed officers and dogs trained to detect explosives at the railroad stations, Salter said, and plainclothes officers will also be at the stations sometimes.

The TSA has for five years focused mostly on airplane security. But Salter said that in light of train bombings in Madrid, London and, most recently, Mumbai, “preventing the introduction of improvised explosive devices on to passenger trains is of the highest priority.”

A series of seven explosions killed at least 174 people on commuter trains and in stations in the Indian financial capital of Mumbai in July. Analysts compared that attack with the mass transit bombings in Madrid in 2004 and in London last year, saying they were all well-coordinated and involved multiple explosions.

“There’s no credible information that there’s any threat” to trains here, Salter said. On the other hand, he also said, “It’s not a matter of will it happen, it’s a matter of when or where.” Salter described the new program at a news conference near the security checkpoint at the departure area at T.F. Green Airport, saying that its goal is “to deter terrorism acts along the rail lines of Rhode Island.”

Amtrak stops at three stations in Rhode Island: Westerly, West Kingston and Providence. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority trains also serve Providence.

Salter said the manpower for the railroad station patrols will come from the Providence and Westerly police and from the state police, along with TSA officers. He said passengers will also, on occasion, see officers with dogs trained to detect explosives “moving about through the crowds.” He said the patrols will also be looking for “people who are under stress” as evidenced by their behavior.

Citing a need for secrecy, Salter wouldn’t say how often the patrols will take place or make public a number of other details about them. Part of the intent of the initiative, he said, is to leave considerable doubt about what will be done and when, so that terrorists can’t use the information for planning.

“You can’t be everywhere at the same time,” Salter said, so the agency will adopt an unpredictable “now you see us, now you don’t” approach.

Beyond trying to keep any would-be terrorists off balance, Salter said his agency wants to improve its capacity to deal with increased threats, to get “where we can handle it if the balloon goes up a little higher.”

The TSA has hired more than 100 inspectors devoted to surface transportation nationally, the agency officials said, but they would not say how many staff members it has in Rhode Island.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said, however, that the agency won’t reimburse the police departments for extra duty for their officers. The federal government has done that for some law enforcement initiatives such as extra anti-drunken-driving patrols.

Security on the trains will remain the province of the rail operators, he said. In Rhode Island, the operators are Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The TSA has been experimenting with ways to improve railroad security for several years. Those included pilot programs in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., and Maryland in 2004. The TSA used various technologies to screen passengers, baggage and cargo. In Connecticut, the agency installed an x-ray machine on a train car on the state’s Shoreline East commuter rail line in July 2004, Davis said.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

© 1997-2014 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Safety Task Force Hotline
800-306-5414

Decertification Helpline
800-393-2716

DAILY HEADLINES

Teamster Nation: Get the latest updates in the War on Workers
As clock winds down, CP Rail's Harrison hunts for his dream deal
Union Pacific CEO: Major rail mergers 'don't make sense'
UP reports 19 percent surge in 3Q 2014 profit, CEO optimistic about 4Q
Teamsters continue get-out-the-vote effort in Chicago
New reports on backlogs bring renewed criticism of railroads
AAR: Combined weekly rail traffic up 2.9 percent over 2013 for week ending October 18
Chicago's new flyover to end bottleneck on Metra's Rock Island Line
NJ Rep. calls new Hudson River train tunnel vital
Sen. Schumer says CSX needs to fix 2 trestles in Central New York
Amtrak considers selling real estate for development
Amtrak, mayor at odds in federal court over fence in New Orleans
Two states see slow start for fast trains between Raleigh and Richmond
Amtrak supporters enlist drone to make argument
Canadian oil exports to get eastern boost with plans for New Brunswick rail terminal
Facing lawsuit, California oil train terminal to shut down
New crude oil report concludes risks of train spills are real
Fifty years after the bullet train, Japan approves plan to build super-speed maglev train line
Canadian Pacific Holiday Train kicks off 16th year as North America's largest rolling food bank fundraiser
Medicare Part B premiums remain the same in 2015
Credit for military service under the Railroad Retirement Act

More Headlines


Enter your e-mail address to receive BLET news updates.

Subscribe  Unsubscribe