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Amtrak riders to see more cops, face random bag searches soon

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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]IMG_0973a.jpg[/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.

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It's about god damn time they did something. I thought they were going to wait until something happened before doing anything.

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Amtrak does not want another 311 to happen to them. I'm glad that Amtrak has gotten the ball rollin'. It is about time.

 

Two questions:

  1. Amtrak is currently short on funds, how will they pay for this?
  2. Amtrak is currently short on the extra manpower, where will they get the extra help needed?

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Amtrak does not want another 311 to happen to them. I'm glad that Amtrak has gotten the ball rollin'. It is about time.

 

Two questions:

  1. Amtrak is currently short on funds, how will they pay for this?
  2. Amtrak is currently short on the extra manpower, where will they get the extra help needed?

I know NYPD is working very closely with Amtrak on this. I'm guessing Amtrak is going to finally show off their police force more and also get the help of the PDs in the areas they serve.

 

But ya, it is about time Amtrak got started on something like this.

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It's about god damn time they did something. I thought they were going to wait until something happened before doing anything.

 

I doubt Al Qaeda would blow up an Amtrak train. To few passengers, even on the NEC. LIRR, MNRR, and NJT seperately, possibly carry more in 1 train doing 3 round trips than Amtrak does in the entire NEC on all their runs.

 

Point is, it's best to blow up a crowded train.........

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I doubt Al Qaeda would blow up an Amtrak train. To few passengers, even on the NEC. LIRR, MNRR, and NJT seperately, possibly carry more in 1 train doing 3 round trips than Amtrak does in the entire NEC on all their runs.

 

Point is, it's best to blow up a crowded train.........

 

I've mentioned the fact that someone derailed the Sunset Limited back in 1995 elsewhere, who's to say a terrorist wouldn't try that.

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I've mentioned the fact that someone derailed the Sunset Limited back in 1995 elsewhere, who's to say a terrorist wouldn't try that.

 

I'm not saying a terrorist wouldn't do it, I'm saying the terrorist we all know who wants to kill us, wouldn't. Why take out a train carrying 300 people when you can make more of a statement doing it on a train carrying 800+.

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