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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak, TSA to beef up security over Labor Day weekend

Amtrak, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security officials yesterday announced security would be enhanced at Amtrak stations during the Labor Day weekend as part of the Operation RAILSAFE initiative.

Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger at a press conference at Union Station in Washington, D.C., to discuss the nationwide initiative, which provides enhanced visible law enforcement and security presence at train stations and trains on selected high-volume days, according to a TSA press release.

During Operation RAILSAFE, Amtrak police, TSA and local law enforcement agencies deploy counterterrorism assets, which include explosive detection sweeps, random bag inspections and patrols by TSA "Visible Intermodal Protection and Response" teams.

The nature of the "open and dynamic" passenger-rail environment requires "a great deal of effort" between federal, state, local and private-sector partners, Neffenger said.

"We have one of the best partners in security rail systems in Amtrak," he said. "They have been a leader in thinking differently in how to ensure the security and safety of our rail system."

There have been 50 Operation RAILSAFE events in 42 states since the initiative began in 2010. More than 260 law enforcement agencies and 1,200 officers have participated.

The efforts to increase security measures on passenger trains comes on the heels of last month’s foiled terrorist attack on a Paris-bound train.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/4/2015