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New U.S. train security effective Sunday

(UPI circulated the following story on May 22.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. railroad officials will implement new security measures Sunday, just days after a bomb threat stopped two Acela Express trains heading to Washington.

The new standards are part of the Department of Homeland Security's effort to prevent the kind of train bombings that killed 191 people March 11 in Madrid, the Washington Times reported Saturday.

Beginning Sunday rail operators must designate security coordinators and remove trash receptacles from stations, unless they are bomb-resistant or clear plastic containers.

Rail agencies also are supposed to use bomb-sniffing dogs to screen baggage, terminals and trains and ask passengers and employees to report unattended property or suspicious behavior.

The new security measures are "the first time in the history of mass transit that the federal government has taken the leadership role in setting a federal security standard for passenger rail and mass transit systems," a Homeland Security spokesman said.

Police stopped two of Amtrak's Acela Express trains headed to Washington late Thursday after an anonymous caller telephoned Baltimore police with a bomb threat. No bombs were found.

Monday, May 24, 2004

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