Trainspotter 0 Posted February 19, 2008 Share #1 Posted February 19, 2008 Amtrak riders to see more cops, face random bag searches soon BY KATHERINE RUDISH and LEO STANDORA DAILY NEWS WRITERS February 18th 2008 [float=right][/float]Cops with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol Amtrak trains and randomly search carry-on bags in a dramatic tightening of security to be announced Tuesday. Although some riders were unhappy with the idea of guns on the trains, most welcomed the new security plan. "I think it's good," said Yvette Davis, 23, an assistant shoe store manager from the Bronx, while waiting for a train in Penn Station. "You can never be too protective, especially with some of these crazy people." "I think it's great," said Manhattan software salesman Dan Hurley, 39. "I've often wondered why there is so little security on trains. They could do as much damage as a plane." April Holder, 30, from Manhattan, said only, "Just don't make us late. New Yorkers hate being late." Amtrak officials insist the security ramp-up won't make anyone late. "We're very conscious of the fact that you're in an environment where commuters have minutes to go from train to train," said Bill Rooney, vice president for security strategy and special operations. The new measures mark a significant shift for Amtrak, which, unlike the airlines, has had relatively little visible increase in security since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, making it attractive to passengers eager to avoid airport hassles. But security concerns have been mounting since the 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid that killed 191 people. Amtrak's new "mobile security teams" will go into action soon on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, the railroad's most heavily used route. Later they'll be expanded to the rest of the country. Sen. Chuck Schumer hailed the beefed up security as "a strong step toward making the highly vulnerable rail system more secure," but also said it should be done "in a way that won't increase lines and wait times." Amtrak chief Alex Kummant insisted riders will hardly notice the change. Passengers won't have to arrive at stations far in advance, and those selected randomly for screening will be delayed no more than a couple of minutes, he said. He said security teams will show up unannounced at stations and set up baggage screening areas in front of boarding gates. Officers will randomly pull people out of line and wipe their bags with a special swab that is put through a machine that detects explosives. If the machine detects anything, officers will open the bag for inspection. Anyone who is selected for screening and refuses will not be allowed to board and their ticket will be refunded. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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