The full press release can be found at Amtrak's website.Q: Is there a security threat to Amtrak passengers?
A: Federal law enforcement authorities have stated that there is no specific or credible security threat to passenger railroads at this time. However, Amtrak continues to maintain a high level of vigilance at stations and on trains.
Q: What measures are Amtrak employees taking to ensure passenger security?
A: With the help of the Amtrak Police Department, employees have taken a number of measures to improve security. All employees have been advised to be alert to suspicious activity or suspicious packages in stations and on board trains. Ticket agents are required to check the identification of passengers purchasing tickets. Passengers checking baggage are also required to provide identification and tag all bags. Amtrak has also established a Security Information Center to increase employee awareness about security issues and to directly provide security tips, bulletins and specific information on security policies and procedures.
Q: Has the Amtrak Police Department increased security measures?
A: Yes, in a number of ways. The Amtrak Police Department is operating at an elevated state of alert and readiness in conformance with the Homeland Security Advisory System threat level "Yellow." In major stations, the police conduct regular patrols of waiting areas and platforms. K-9 patrols have been increased as well. Since Sept. 11, 2001, Amtrak has added twelve explosive detection dog teams. These teams are used to conduct random sweeps of baggage rooms, ticket windows, platforms and other station areas. The department is in continual communication with federal law enforcement agencies and regularly receives intelligence information on security matters.
Q: Will Amtrak institute commercial airline-type baggage and passenger screening systems?
A: There is no plan at this time to do so. Amtrak is part of the nation's ground-based transportation system, interconnected at thousands of points over 22,000 route miles. Unlike the airlines, with a single point of access, rail systems have multiple points of access. Like most rail systems worldwide, Amtrak shares facilities with commuter rail operations and city transit systems handling millions of daily passengers at thousands of stations. It is an open system with connectivity and a free flow of large numbers of people between modes. [For identification purposes, Amtrak does require all baggage to be tagged with the owners name and contact information.]
Q: Will Amtrak work with the Transportation Security Administration to test baggage and passenger screening?
A: Yes, the TSA wants to conduct a pilot project to test the feasibility of screening baggage and carry-on bags. However, the TSA has said that the pilot project will not resemble an aviation-type solution, but instead provide the federal government with a venue to test new technologies and screening concepts. Amtrak will assist in this project. (For more information, see the Department of Homeland Security Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/).
Q: What about Amtrak services that operate over tracks owned by the freight railroads and others?
A: Amtrak and its police department have been working closely with the freight railroads and others who own tracks Amtrak uses to operate rail passenger services. Those railroads also have their own police departments. Those companies and agencies report they have also increased security patrols and made other improvements. (For more information, see the Association of American Railroads Web site at http://www.aar.org or the American Public Transportation Association at http://www.apta.com/.)