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

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

U.S. to test security devices at PATH station

(The following article by Thomas J. Lueck was posted on the New York Times website on July 11.)

NEW YORK -- Commuters who use the Exchange Place PATH station in Jersey City during the next three weeks can expect to be checked by scanners and other security devices as part of a test by the Department of Homeland Security.

Starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, riders may be electronically searched by handheld devices that look like cameras, told to step in front of machines that resemble phone booths or subjected to tests involving radar, infrared sensors and other technology, federal officials said yesterday.

“In the first stage we used existing technology, and now we are moving out,” said Christopher Kelly, a department spokesman.

Officials said the testing was scheduled to continue on weekdays through July 27, with passengers being scanned from roughly the morning to evening rushes. “It may slow things up by a few minutes for those who are selected, but in general, it won’t significantly affect people’s commutes,” Mr. Kelly said.

Federal officials said that the technologies being tested were intended to check passengers quickly and unobtrusively, sometimes using devices that are placed far away.
The officials declined yesterday to describe in any detail what would be tested but said that some of the devices incorporated what is known as millimeter-wave technology, in which sensors detect energy emitted by bodies or other objects.

Experts say that the sensors read energy wavelengths that pass through clothing or composite materials, and that millimeter-wave devices can be placed at a distance from passengers who are being scanned, while generating images of objects under their clothing.

So some machines will monitor all passengers as they pass. Other riders will be selected at random to be searched, officials said.

The test is part of a two-year program, financed by $10 million from Congress, to develop scanning equipment that can provide railroad stations with a level of security comparable to what exists at airports.

Another security test was conducted in February at the Exchange Place station. The new test, which is to begin less than a week after the authorities announced what they said was a plot to blow up the PATH tunnels between New Jersey and Lower Manhattan, will no doubt serve as another reminder to commuters of the threat of terrorism.

But Mr. Kelly said that the testing “has been planned for a long time” and that there was no link to the plot described last week.

The Exchange Place station, which was closed for renovations after the attack on the World Trade Center, and reopened in 2003, has been fitted with new wiring and other equipment that makes it particularly suitable as a test site, federal officials said.

The testing in February was to measure the effectiveness in railroad stations of metal detectors, X-ray machines and other scanners used in airports. But the machines were set at a lower level of sensitivity, and people did not have to empty their pockets or remove their shoes.

Security experts have long warned that rail passengers cannot be expected to tolerate the delays that many have come to accept at airports. And they say that commuters are unlikely to arrive an hour or more in advance to board trains.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2019 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

Midwest flooding grinds rail service to a halt
Nebraska flooding wreaking havoc on railroads
UE continues talks with Wabtec in Erie, Pa.
Amtrak employees, friends pay tribute at Boardman funeral
FRA denies KCS request to move brake test to Mexico yards
AFL-CIO’s TTD seeks worker protections against automation impacts
Memorial service held for 20th anniversary of Amtrak tragedy in Bourbonnais, Ill.
Teamsters Local 455 mechanics ratify contract with Frontier Airlines
Union Pacific: Weak rail traffic for sixth straight week
Editorial: New York and New Jersey need a Plan B for the Hudson rail tunnel
Firefighters/EMTs in Illinois join Teamsters Local 525
Q&A: Longevity of Railroad Retirement beneficiaries
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines