7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

News and Issues
User Info

Rail passenger screening test ends at New Carrollton

(The Associated Press circulated the following story by Stephen Manning on June 3.)

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. -- The Transportation Security Administration has ended its test of a bomb-sniffing machine at a suburban Washington train station, saying initial results show the machine works.

The monthlong pilot project ended May 26 and the equipment that puffs small bursts of air at passengers to detect explosives has been removed from New Carrolton station, according to TSA spokeswoman Chris Rhatigan.

A detailed final report will be completed over the next month, but early results showed the detection equipment worked and did not cause significant delays to passengers.

"Everything worked involving both people and the equipment," Rhatigan said.

The test was the first of a three part experiment by TSA to see if passengers, bags and trains can be effectively screened for explosives.

Starting next week, checked luggage at Union Station in Washington will be scanned. In July, the agency will use detection equipment to check passengers already on trains.

The bomb sniffing machines, known as EntryScan, would only be used at stations when there are specific threats to particular cities, stations or rail lines. There are no plans to install the equipment permanently.

Under the system, passengers headed to the platform have to line up and pass through a checkpoint similar to an airline security check. Passengers must stand in a portal while the equipment shoots bursts of air onto them and analyzes it. The whole process takes about 12 seconds.

The test was conducted on passengers boarding only Amtrak and MARC commuter trains at New Carrollton. Those riding Metro subway trains that also stop at the station were not affected.

Railway passenger advocates said that the lightly used New Carrollton may not be big enough to give a true picture of how much the security checks would affect commuters. Only about 1,000 passengers ride MARC and Amtrak each day from that station.

"If you try to do this on anything that approaches the Washington Metro system or the Long Island Rail Road at rush hour, you're talking about slowing down the process," said Ross Capon, executive director of that National Association of Rail Passengers, who visited the New Carrollton test site.

MARC and Amtrak both said they heard few complaints or reports of passengers who missed trains. However, the screeners allowed passengers to skip the check if their train was scheduled to depart within two minutes, said Marcie Golgoski of Amtrak.

"This was just a test program," she said. "They weren't there to detain people."

The pilot started May 4 and was originally scheduled to last 30 days, but was cut because TSA had the information it needed and wanted to avoid causing delays during the busy Memorial Day weekend, Rhatigan said.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Like us on Facebook at

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2020 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts


Pan Am Railways goes up for sale
An observer’s view of the Pan Am Railways sale
NJ Transit claims “major milestone” in PTC progress
Amtrak to reduce New York-Florida trains starting July 6, with more cuts coming October 1
SEPTA Regional Rail is coming back, but many of its suburban riders are still working from home
Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles set records for container movement
Nebraska Commission files complaint against railroads for blocked crossings
CN plans nearly C$1 billion in capital projects
Norfolk Southern sold its Roanoke headquarters building for $30 million, less than assessed value
Passenger rail between Duluth, Twin Cities hurt by lack of state backing
Port of Savannah calls 10% container volume drop “better than expected”
RRB begins paying CARES Act recovery payments for unemployed rail workers
Q&A: RRB reports performance under customer service plan
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines