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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak bolsters security, names Sorozan CIO


Amtrak is taking additional security measures to detect threats and deter terrorists from derailing passenger trains, Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor said June 14 in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Threats against rail are “very real” and continue to be viable since last month’s death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, he said, according to a prepared statement.

The security countermeasures will provide more right-of-way (ROW) protections for passenger trains, especially those on the Northeast Corridor, O’Connor added. Those efforts will be in addition to Amtrak’s focus on threats related to the use of improvised explosive devices in a station or on a train, as well as an “active shooter scenario.”

Historically, Amtrak’s security measures have included high security fencing, bollards, blast curtains, access control and “technologically-driven” initiatives to protect stations, bridges and tunnels, said O’Connor. Amtrak is exploring the expanded use of these strategies for ROW protection, he said.

Since bin Laden’s death, Amtrak has expanded ROW patrols in collaboration with other federal, state and local partners; met with Transportation Security Administration officials to evaluate next steps based on new intelligence information; and reinforced employee awareness programs, said O’Connor.

Meanwhile, Amtrak has appointed Ronald Sorozan chief information officer. He most recently served as Amtrak’s group information officer of operations, engineering and maintenance. Sorozan previously held CIO and vice president-information technology positions at DynCorp International.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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