Officials working to keep rails safe after terrorist train threat
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reminding travelers to be vigilant when riding the train this holiday season.
There have been recent threats that would-be terrorists are encouraged to target the rail system by building homemade devices to cause a train to derail and harm passengers. It is all spelled out in a publication terrorists read.
Officials say the threat was made a few months ago, but that is no reason to let our guard down.
Amtrak sent this statement Monday about that latest terrorist threat:
Amtrak continues to maintain a strong security posture to keep our passengers, employees and the railroad safe. Robust security measures are in place at stations and on trains, and we have increased our patrols along the tracks. We are also partnering with federal agencies to gather and share intelligence. At this time there are no specific or credible threats against Amtrak.
Passengers think with this recent threat that things should be done to ensure safety - especially at train stations.
"I think that this is the expectation that we probably need to recognize and prepare for," passenger Bryan Guy said.
Guy admits he doesn't know all that happens behind the scenes to keep him and others safe, but thinks there should be some visible changes.
"Just like there are airports that are increasing safety there," Guy said. "I hope we don't have to wait for an incident to happen for us to get there."
The TSA sent this statement to WBTV about the recent concerns:
The Awareness Message is not in response to any specific threats, but should serve as a reminder to the public during this peak travel period to remain vigilant, if you see something say something, and that security is a collective effort.
The Association of American Railroads is also aware of the safety concerns. It says it does all it can to keep the 140,000 miles of rail network safe.
Officials say collaboration and training is key. The Association says last year the Railroad participated in more than 5,000 security activities.
"The lynchpin of the rail industry's unified security plan is coordination between law enforcement, government, and passenger and freight railroads," the Association of American Railroads said in a statement Monday. "This intelligence-sharing relationship helps identify trends, quickly coordinate our focus on necessary action, and communicate with law enforcement in real time. Additionally, this open flow of information helps train rail employees nationwide on how to spot and report potential threats."
Amtrak says it is protecting the rails so nobody can tamper with them. They are using high security fencing, video surveillance systems, lighting and other means to keep the rails safe.
Amtrak is also working with TSA to test out other technologies to improve safety.
Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.