On the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to honor those who lost their lives on that tragic day, Amtrak is participated in Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Across its national network at 1:00 p.m. (EDT), Amtrak invited passengers and employees to join in a minute of silent reflection while locomotive engineers sound one long train whistle as safe operation permits.
“Every day Amtrak remains vigilant and continues to maintain a strong security posture to keep our passengers, employees and the railroad safe,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman.
Amtrak is working hard to protect “America’s Railroad” on the Northeast Corridor and across the country. Through enhanced security measures such as conducting more passenger and baggage screenings, increasing the use of K-9 explosive detection teams, and expanding police patrols at stations, on trains, along the tracks and at other key rail infrastructure, Amtrak is making it harder for those who seek to do harm.
“In today’s environment, safety and security takes a coordinated effort,” said Amtrak Assistant Chief of Police Lisa Shahade. “Amtrak relies on the support of the law enforcement community and the public to assist us in our efforts to identify and address potential security threats.”
Amtrak has developed strong partnerships with local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies as well as with transit and commuter rail agencies and the host freight railroads on whose tracks many Amtrak trains operate. In addition, the Amtrak Police Department actively participates in FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to share intelligence and conduct joint security exercises.
Other coordinated efforts include Operation RAIL SAFE (Regional Alliance Including Local, State and Federal Efforts), a nationwide effort involving activities such as heightened station patrols, increased security presence onboard trains, in stations and along the right-of-way, explosives detection K-9 sweeps, and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations. As part of this effort, Amtrak Police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel and other law enforcement officers are being deployed at passenger rail and transit stations across the country today to exercise counterterrorism and incident response capabilities.
The multi-force, multi-agency security surge is not in response to any particular threat or incident.
While Amtrak continues to harden infrastructure with traditional techniques such as high security fencing, lighting, ID Card access control and CCTV systems, it is also exploring and evaluating emerging technologies to improve security levels. Amtrak is currently working with the TSA to test, integrate and implement trespasser intrusion detection devices and technologies to more effectively protect the right of way. Other technologies being developed by Amtrak will improve upon existing security strategy and operations, enhance interagency information sharing and local agency response to Amtrak incidents.
Also, Amtrak security is enhanced by the frontline employees who work at stations, on trains, and maintain the tracks and other infrastructure. Thousands of Amtrak employees have received security training and their extra eyes and ears form an additional line of defense.
In addition, Amtrak is engaging passengers and the public to be on alert and report safety or security issues through a neighborhood watch style program called Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security (PASS) and a public awareness campaign with the slogan, “If you see Something, Say Something…Hopefully, it’s Nothing”. Individuals are encouraged to report behaviors or activities that are unusual or out of the ordinary such as trespassers and suspicious packages by calling Amtrak Police.