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Amtrak to deploy mobile security teams, conduct random bag checks

Amtrak is enhancing security measures, but not because of any particular new threats. Today, the national intercity passenger railroad announced it will deploy specialized Amtrak Mobile Security Teams to patrol stations and trains, and randomly inspect passengers’ bags.

To be deployed nationwide, the teams will supplement Amtrak patrols already in place. Squads may include armed, specialized Amtrak police officers, explosive-detecting K-9 units and armed counter-terrorism special agents. The random bag inspections are expected to take less than one minute.

Amtrak developed the new measures with domestic and international counter-terrorism agencies and experts. The security improvements are similar to programs in place in New York, Boston, London and Madrid, Amtrak said.

“These new procedures will strengthen Amtrak’s overall security, and they are vital in our efforts to deter, detect and prevent a terrorist incident on the rail system,” said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Kummant in a prepared statement.

Amtrak’s current security program includes uniformed police and plain clothes officers on trains and in stations, security cameras, random identification checks, a “See Something, Say Something” passenger education program and workforce training.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/19/2008