TSA on Amtrak

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Durham57

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I have never posted before, so hope this is in the right forum. My question is in relation to rumors and articles I have seen regarding TSA Security moving into Amtrak stations. I stopped flying five years ago because of the bizarre TSA methods at the airports, and consequently became a big train fan. We travel once a year between San Diego and Charleston, S. C. via LAX-Chicago-Washington, D. C.-Charleston and return the same route. Can someone tell me if I should be prepared for luggage search, back scatter etc. or enhanced pat downs? Can I opt out? Is this really happening now? Many thanks for any advice.
 

amamba

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Welcome to the forum! This has already been discussed here, and it seems that the general consensus is that the savannah screening (video on youtube) seems to be an anomaly.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I would guess that it's only a matter of time before trains suffer some sort of TSA related scanning. That's not to say it makes sense, it's only to say that the TSA procurement system has become a huge windfall for various security companies and there is no reason they won't use their profits to lobby for ever more invasive security measures. Maybe they'll come up with some sort of mobile x-ray scanner than can be carried on the train or something. In any case I don't foresee any serious opposition from today's ever more subservient population.

 

Green Maned Lion

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Excuse me, but you've gone too bloody far, Dax. Guinea pigs? They are far more intelligent and independently minded than the average American. I resent your insulting them.
 

Ryan

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Well yeah, but a picture of a rock wouldn't have been nearly as funny.
 

the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Having "airport type security" may (but probably not) be used in cities like NYP, PHL, WAS, CHI or LAX. But those stations also are used by commuters! Where would they out the "security checkpoints"?
I can hear the employees asking their bosses

Can I leave work every day at 1 PM, so I can get thru security and make my 5 PM train home?
It would not even be possible at all the unstaffed stations, or even at KIN where I can walk right from the car to the tracks without going into the station!
 

Acela150

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Of what I've seen at PHL it's just luggage searches. It's done by the Rent a cops too. I think the TSA is just there to be there. That's my opinion. They just look through bags quick and that's it.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Down in Savannah it was report that they had a barricade up, and people on the outside to make sure you were post-trip screened. So when come to your station where you can walk up to the train from the park lot. There going to bring alot more people, just to make sure you get screened.

When they came for the family down the street, I said nothing. When they came for the family across the street, I said nothing. When they came for the family downstairs, I said nothing. When they came for me, there was nobody left to say anything.

FYI: US Army 3rd generation. My German grandmother had an Jewish family hiding in her basement during WW2.

Edit for big finger little smart phone.
 
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Acela150

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Down in Savannah it was report that they had a barricade up, and people on the outside to make sure you were post-trip screened. So when come to your station where you can walk up to the train from the park lot. There going to bring alot more people, just to make sure you get screened.

When they came for the family down the street, I said nothing. When they came for the family across the street, I said nothing. When they came for the family downstairs, I said nothing. When they came for me, there was nobody left to say anything.

FYI: US Army 3rd generation. My German grandmother had an Jewish family hiding in her basement during WW2.

Edit for big finger little smart phone.
IMO your post make little to no sense at all. How do you check someone AFTER they traveled?? :huh: They don't do that at airports. So why would they do that at SAV??? :help:
 

bretton88

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Ok, the TSA has apologized for the incident in Savannah. It was a drill that was supposed to be over by the time the train arrived. Except it wasn't. Some signals got crossed and soon everyone was being searched. A bad situation that got out of hand, but not the norm.
 

Acela150

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Ok, the TSA has apologized for the incident in Savannah. It was a drill that was supposed to be over by the time the train arrived. Except it wasn't. Some signals got crossed and soon everyone was being searched. A bad situation that got out of hand, but not the norm.
So it was a drill that went haywire. Interesting!
 

Spokker

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Ok, the TSA has apologized for the incident in Savannah. It was a drill that was supposed to be over by the time the train arrived. Except it wasn't. Some signals got crossed and soon everyone was being searched. A bad situation that got out of hand, but not the norm.
You forget that the TSA is still doing drills for screening passengers before they get on a train. Airport style security, pat downs and all, is coming to Amtrak. It may be a random basis, perhaps at first, but it is coming.
If I see these checkpoints on the Surfliner or at Los Angeles Union Station, I will never ride trains again.
 

Devil's Advocate

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IMO your post make little to no sense at all. How do you check someone AFTER they traveled?? :huh: They don't do that at airports. So why would they do that at SAV??? :help:
Wait, did you just say that they don't check people after traveling in airports? I take it you've never left the country then?
 

Anderson

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If what you're talking about is Customs, then I'd point out that varying degrees of screening there far predates the Totally Stupid Administration's existence.
 

Long Train Runnin'

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IMO your post make little to no sense at all. How do you check someone AFTER they traveled?? :huh: They don't do that at airports. So why would they do that at SAV??? :help:
Wait, did you just say that they don't check people after traveling in airports? I take it you've never left the country then?
Leaving a country is a totally different situation though. When you travel domestically no agent asks you the reason your traveling from Newark to I don't know lets just say Houston, and when you arrive in Houston your able to walk out of the airport, and rent a car, catch a bus, ect. When you fly, sail, drive, take a train, or walk into another country you are asked about the reason of your visit, which makes sense since odds are you aren't traveling internationally with no purpose. When you fly, sail, drive, take a train or walk back into the United States US customs officials ask you what you were doing in the foreign country. The TSA is the transportation security administration. There role would involve screening before you board transportation in the United States, they shouldn't be patting you down, as you leave the airport, or train station.
 

dart330

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wayman

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It would not even be possible at all the unstaffed stations, or even at KIN where I can walk right from the car to the tracks without going into the station!
Dave, it would absolutely be possible at KIN. They'll just put up barricades to funnel everyone through the checkpoint. It may slow things down tremendously -- ok, it definitely will slow things down tremendously. The station won't be staffed by Amtrak personnel; it will be open only for TSA use. TSA will hire thousands more employees as a result. (I mean, not just for KIN -- for every small station :) )

Meanwhile, small bus-shelter stops with no structure like Exton will just be closed -- if you want to get to Exton, use SEPTA and transfer with Amtrak at Philadelphia. Lines like the Keystone may see drops in ridership as a result. Modest drops if it's just stations like Exton forced to get the cut; huge drops if the TSA actually says "we'll serve Philadelphia, Paoli, Lancaster, Elizabethtown, and Harrisburg. Cut everything else because it's unsecure."

What does this mean, ultimately? TSA hires more people means the number of federal employees goes way up, and the GOP can say "look at the numbers -- federal employment is way up, this is Democratic Big Government, let's vote them out!". (Lest you think this is crazy, the argument was trotted out last year when thousands of additional federal employees were Constitutionally-required temporary Census workers...) And loss of ridership means trains will be increasingly seen as unprofitable and impractical and funding will be cut by states and Congress, while air and highway pick up the money that would have supported rail.

Amtrak loses. America loses. And it's pretty much impossible to stop this trend.
 
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dlagrua

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The American people can stop this trend of being humiliated and subjugated by the TSA thugs by just boycotting the aitlines. If this type of inhumane and degrading thing is applied to train travel then I become a car traveler 100%. Something must be done about this gross loss of human rights. It should be noted that the airport screening process has yet to intercept ONE potential terrorist out of million sof travelers since 911.

The TSA intrusion peobably won't go away as the American people have become spineless submissive sheep that will allow government to take away their rights and do anything to them that they please. I'll take a stand and say no way, not now, not ever will I submit..
 

jb64

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I just came across this article on Forbes.

"Newly uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets."

http://blogs.forbes....ain-passengers/
I read that article this morning, too. Scary stuff when we are being scanned at any time, unknowingly, even if we are just walking down our own street minding our own business. I am all for smart security, but this has crossed the line in a major way.
 

wayman

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The American people can stop this trend of being humiliated and subjugated by the TSA thugs by just boycotting the aitlines.
I wish that were even possible. Business travel requires airline use. Many businesses would die without it. For many people visiting family hundreds or thousands of miles away requires airline use. Spending most of their few vacation days on the road (or on the rails) simply isn't an option. As a result, people have to fly. It's an unfortunate reality.
 

MikefromCrete

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Just saw on TV that the TSA let a guy board a plane at LaGuardia Airport in New York carrying three box cutters (the same device used by the 9/11 hijackers) in his carryon. They were discovered when the cutters fell out of the bag when he was putting it in the overhead baggage area. Another top-notch job by the TSA.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I read that article this morning, too. Scary stuff when we are being scanned at any time, unknowingly, even if we are just walking down our own street minding our own business. I am all for smart security, but this has crossed the line in a major way.
Until large numbers of Americans are willing to stand up to this invasion of privacy the worse it will get. Exchanging flights for train tickets will NOT fix the underlying problem of an encroaching police state. Eventually "enhanced security measures" will come to trains and cars and whatever else they can think of. Already I'm forced to stop, answer questions, and be photographed by literally dozens of cameras of various wave lengths just for having the gall to drive down Interstate 10. In the land of the "free," no less. We either need to change our policies or change our motto; the myth and the reality are no longer in any sort of harmony.
 

MattW

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If what you're talking about is Customs, then I'd point out that varying degrees of screening there far predates the Totally Stupid Administration's existence.
Actually, he may be referring to situations like the Atlanta airport where arriving international passengers have to go through a tsa grope-point AFTER they've gone through customs and immigration. The jerks claim that international flights are "unsafe" so, because you have to go through "airside" to get back to curbside, you have to be re-screened even though international flight screening is supposed to conform to the standards set by the tsa. You can refuse to do so and get a LEO or tsa person to "escort" you through airside to curbside in theory. There's one story of a smaller airport (Scranton?) where a person after coming through customs refused to be subjected to the tsa just for reentring his own country and it took an hour or so (maybe longer) just to get and then convince a LEO to escort him through the sterile area to curbside.
 

Devil's Advocate

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If what you're talking about is Customs, then I'd point out that varying degrees of screening there far predates the Totally Stupid Administration's existence.
Actually, he may be referring to situations like the Atlanta airport where arriving international passengers have to go through a tsa grope-point AFTER they've gone through customs and immigration.
Indeed. I've experienced the same thing at numerous other airports, either because they don't have connecting sterile areas or because they only connect in limited ways. Dividing security between terminals makes for extremely inefficient inspection procedures as one terminal will have dozens of TSA staff standing around while the next terminal over will be completely swamped with huge lines and no alternative entry points. Why are we so blind to our own inefficiencies and so resistant to correcting them?

You can refuse to do so and get a LEO or tsa person to "escort" you through airside to curbside in theory. There's one story of a smaller airport (Scranton?) where a person after coming through customs refused to be subjected to the tsa just for reentring his own country and it took an hour or so (maybe longer) just to get and then convince a LEO to escort him through the sterile area to curbside.
I never knew you could request an escort to avoid repetitive searching. My guess is that most such requests would be denied and/or would result in additional screening. But maybe if I have some extra time some day I might make such a request and see what happens.
 

Tumbleweed

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Why do we not make more use of dogs? They can be trained to detect any kind of explosive, any time, anywhere.....If a terrorist is stupid enough to try something with just a knife or other non-explosive weapon, I think his fellow passengers would corral him quite quickly.....
 
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