Airport Style Security Expanded To Include Trains

Fact checked
Airport style security coming to trains

Should trains implement an airport style security system?

Since the shooting on the Paris bound train last Friday in which three American tourists thwarted a potential massacre involving hundreds of passengers – the US are considering beefing up security so that travelling by train involves similar screening procedures as those seen at airports. 

Amtrak already has MTA police and a TSA program that assists with security on board its trains, but are now considering beefing up their security in the stations themselves.

Though opposition to the increase in security is likely to be strong, Amtrak say, “passengers failing to consent to security procedures will be denied access to trains.” reports:

A Homeland Security report five years ago found security problems at many Amtrak stations but cost and complexity has stopped rail stations from adding things like mandatory full body scans.

“I don’t know if that level of security we have at airports would be practical at train stations,” said Vernon Herron, University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. “Washington DC and New York City—our financial district and our seat of power in Washington DC. Those types of targets are always going to be on their radar.”

Herron points out Homeland Security does deploy what are called VIPR teams randomly along the Northeast Corridor. Those teams include agents in uniform and bomb-sniffing dogs and agents out of uniform, designed to blend in with passengers and detect suspicious activity.

Last year, they responded to a MARC train in Odenton, where passengers demanded a man be taken off because he was suspiciously snapping pictures. It turns out he was just a train enthusiast.

“Citizens have to be the extra eyes and ears of public officials,” Herron said.

And that may be the biggest takeaway from the French attack. Luckily, three American heroes were on board.

“Hiding or sitting back is not going to accomplish anything,” said Anthony Sadler. “In times of terror like that to please do something; don’t just stand by and watch.”

The VIPR program is part of the TSA and has a budget of more than $100 million—and it’s expanding.

Amtrak says three out of every four people traveling between DC and New York take the train through Baltimore.


  1. The downsides of traveling by air are excessive delay for screening, intrusive groping by TSA, and being forbidden to assure one’s own safety. If you’re a commercial air traveler, you’re a victim-in-waiting.

    The downsides of traveling by road, if one is driving, the exposure time to a multitude of law enforcement areas of responsibility is staggering, as are the laws, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. And if one is traveling interstate, then the allure of an out-of-state-plate is like chumming in shark-infested waters.

    The upsides of traveling by train have historically shunned the downsides of either air or road travel. Along with a relaxed environment enhancing the travel experience (One can get restful sleep in a private bed while traveling by rail! And the dining surpasses all but privately chartered air travel!), it’s a difficult task for a criminal to interrupt a traveler’s peace — and while AmTrak doesn’t approve, responsibly armed passengers can assure their own safety and the safety of others by lawful use of arms, because the intrusive “safeguards” so helpfully provided by TSA are thankfully absent! Men and women can go properly “dressed” for success, being well-heeled.

    As a combat-experienced, Special Forces officer traveling in uniform, I was surprised to find that, according to the gropers, I “fit the profile” of a terrorist and that a detailed search of my person would be necessary. (It did lead me to wonder just how many terrorists call attention to themselves by sporting a green beret, appropriate decorations, and jump boots in dress uniform. Perhaps it’s as O’Bahaha’s administration said: Veterans are potential domestic terrorists.) Years later, as a former law enforcement officer (LEO), heading home at night with a headlight which had just burned out, I was stopped, handcuffed, and placed in the back of a police unit for an excessive amount of time. When I asked why, the officer stated that I was dangerous because of being a former LEO; I responded that he must be dangerous, as well, being a *current* LEO. He laughed, then elaborated that I was additionally dangerous for being former Special Forces. Stunned, I haltingly realized, then stated, that serving one’s country was obviously insufficient to prove good citizenship. Asking what was enough proof of law-abiding intent generally, the officer conceded that the excessive detention was fecally bovine, and he apologized for not being able to let me go. Lest the lesson be lost, such scenarios are unlikely when traveling by train, unless Homeland INsecurity sticks their unwelcome nose where it doesn’t belong!

    De Oppresso Liber

  2. I was on the test bed on this in the USA. we were installing a rolling check point on the train. It was a completely stupid Idea, and it was dropped I thought, I guess europe picked it back up. They will drop it also if they have not already. It was so ridiculous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.