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Department of Homeland Security issues passenger-rail security directives


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is giving passenger-rail operators three days to begin complying with a set of directives designed to improve rail security. Enacted yesterday, the rules take effect May 23.

To be administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the directives apply to all light-, heavy-, intercity- and commuter-rail systems. Operators will be required to enhance security-related communications with TSA; report all unattended property or suspicious behavior; remove trash receptacles from certain locations except for clear plastic or bomb-resistant trash cans; use canine explosive teams to screen baggage, terminals and trains as necessary; conduct facility inspections; and ensure security is being maintained at appropriate levels compared with the threat level.

The initiatives are the latest in a series implemented by the DHS, U.S. Department of Transportation and rail industry to improve rail security, including assessing and developing new technologies, conducting vulnerability assessments of rail networks operating in high-density urban areas, and training personnel to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks.

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More News from 5/21/2004