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Amtrak to install chemical "sniffers" at four stations

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on October 3.)

NEW YORK -- A sensor system meant to detect a possible chemical or poison gas attack will be installed at Penn Station after transit officials concluded they were satisfied with similar equipment at Grand Central Terminal.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to install the system of "sniffers" in the section of Penn Station under its control within six to eight months, said Lewis Schiliro, the agency's director of interagency preparedness. The MTA plans to spend $1.6 million on the project.

Amtrak spokesman Karina Romero said the railroad would also install the sniffers in its section of Penn Station - and at stations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The MTA's board has also agreed to spend about $2.3 million to upgrade the equipment at Grand Central Terminal and maintain both systems.

The sensors, which are housed in simple metal boxes, are known as Protect and are manufactured by Smiths Detection-LiveWave Inc. The system, which continually sucks in air and analyzes it for toxins and gases, was developed after the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Both Penn Station and Grand Central already have radiation monitors and sensors that detect biological threats.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

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