Department of Homeland Security Announces New Measures to Expand Security for Rail Passengers

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For Immediate ReleasePress OfficeContact: DHS Press Office 202-282-8010TSA Public Affairs 571-227-2829May 20, 2004

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today issued Security Directives(SD) requiring protective measures to be implemented by passenger railoperators. The measures instruct commuter, transit and inter-city passenger railsystems to comply with requirements that range from removing or replacingstation trash cans to utilizing canine explosives detection teams.

The directives, which will be administered by the Transportation SecurityAdministration (TSA), were signed today and take effect on May 23.  Thedirectives apply to all passenger rail owners/operators.  These includelight rail systems, inter-city passenger rail systems such as Amtrak, commuterrail operations such as the Maryland Rail Commuter and Long Island Railroad, aswell as subway systems nationwide.

"Millions of Americans travel by rail every day and recent world eventshighlight the need to ensure they are kept safe from acts of terror.  Theseprotective measures, along with others already in place, advance our mission toensure rail passengers are protected," stated Asa Hutchinson, UnderSecretary for Border and Transportation Security at DHS.

The mandatory measures cover a broad range of security issues and provideflexibility to meet the specific needs of rail operators.  Theysubstantiate existing best practices in the rail industry and will ensureenhanced security across the nations passenger rail systems.  Thedirectives require rail operators to take a number of steps, among them:  

  1. Rail owners/operators must designate coordinators to enhance security-related communications with the TSA.
  2. Passengers and employees will be asked to report unattended property or suspicious behavior.  
  3. At certain locations, operators will be required to remove trash receptacles, except clear plastic or bomb-resistant trash containers.  
  4. When needed, canine explosive teams may be utilized to screen passenger baggage, terminals and trains.  
  5. Facility inspections will be conducted by rail operators for suspicious or unattended items.
  6. Rail operators will ensure that security is at appropriate levels consistent with the DHS established threat level.

The protective measures announced today are the latest in a series ofinitiatives DHS, the Department of Transportation and the industry have put inplace to strengthen rail security.  These measures include:

  • Assessing new technologies at the New Carrollton, Md. Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter station
  • Conducting comprehensive vulnerability assessments of rail and transit networks that operate in high-density urban areas
  • Training for rail personnel in preventing and responding to potential terrorist events
  • Allocating over $115 million since May 2003 to improve rail and transit security in urban areas
  • Developing new technologies including chemical and biological countermeasures