Amtrak increasing security at Penn Station

Feb 19th, 2008, 08:13 AM
  #1  
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Amtrak increasing security at Penn Station

Today Amtrak instituted increased security measures at NYC's Penn Station

Metal detectors for all boarding riders
Patrols by guards armed with machine guns
Bomb sniffing dogs
All passenger luggage subject to random search

The reason given is that rail trains/stations have been a frequent terrorist target. No mention was made of any specific threat.

There was also no word if this is just NYC (NYC has been on orange alert continuously since 9/11) or will affect other major Amtrak stations as well.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 08:27 AM
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Long overdue from the point of view of the discrepancy between airports and train stations -- lots of people gather in both places so they both qualify as a concentration of vulnerable population.

But also silly insofar as trains are vulnerable to attack from outside every inch along their trip between stations. Airplanes, except for attacks from ground-to-air missiles or from other planes, are secure in the air once you've -- theoretically -- verified that all contents are secure. You can't do that with passenger trains. Even if you secure all passenger entrances to a station, if the trains entering beneath the station can't be secured, it's futile.
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Feb 19th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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The notice I heard said increased security on all of the Northeast Corridor.
ellenem is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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I saw it on my local news - but am not surprised it's the whole NE corridor. I know the governors of the states in question got together some time ago to press Amtrak for a plan for better security - since they'll have to foot the bill.

The federal government won't - it's still too busy spending all that antiterrorism money protecting cows in Idaho from incursions by those evil Canadians.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 09:07 AM
  #5  
cfc
 
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How feasible can it be to secure the entire rail network in the Northeast? Seems to me, it would be much more of a challange than, oh, say, putting fences along our borders.
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Feb 19th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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More "security theatre" IMO.
Dukey is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 10:54 AM
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Mass transit, by its very nature, cannot have "security" function in the same way it does at the airport. While only a few hundred people are on a plane, there can easily be a few thousand people on a train coming into Penn Station, and they come in every few minutes, so screening everyone is simply not feasible.

The only way to provide some sort of security is to have random screenings. I hope these measures are a little more comprehensive than the subway searches in NYC (been riding for years, never yet seen one), although it would be a pity if they slow-down service in any way.

It's all a compromise, isn't it? Does it really keep you safer, or do you just FEEL safer? Does the difference matter?
happy_train is offline  
Feb 19th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Sorry - we're talking Amtrak here - not commuter trains.

Amtrak has very few stops - and it is feasible to have all passengers go through airline security - and, with the bomb-sniffing dogs - at least keep a bomb off the train (as in Madrid and London).

As far as local commuter trains - you're right - I can;t imagine how you would secure those.
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Feb 19th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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I believe that the bombs in Madrid were on commuter trains.
Michael is offline  
Feb 26th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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nytraveler -
What would be the point of talking about Amtrak but not commuter trains when they are right next to each other on the tracks? And YES, Amtrak does have similar capacity to commuter rail, and has a tight schedule as well. If a bomb goes off in a train in Penn Station, it's going to cause havoc, regardless of what KIND of train it's on.

The only place where I experience rail security that is somewhat comparable to airports was on the EuroStar, but even then, there were no liquids rule, and no one searched luggage.
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Feb 26th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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I'm not arguing about how to effectively protect commuter trains - I don't know how it can be done.

Just wanted to post what is happening on Amtrak so people going to board a train won't be suprised by the armed guards and bomb sniffing dogs.
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Feb 27th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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cfc
 
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You may or may not be able to "secure" stations and passengers getting on and off the trains.

You can never secure all rails, bridges, and tunnels.
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