Unions: Passenger rails need better security, no-ride list


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Two major railway unions have called on the Department of Homeland Security to beef up security on Amtrak and other passenger lines, including creating a no-fly list similar to the no-fly list that prevents people identified as risks associated with boarding aircraft.

The unions said on Wednesday that tougher security measures were needed in light of last week’s riot on the United States Capitol, as people who took part in the insurgency and were subsequently placed on the no-fly list could turn to the train. Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Unions – Transportation Division and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Train Workers urged federal regulators to tighten station security to screen passengers before boarding.

“Even from this hour on, the only real requirement for a person to board a train is simply to have a ticket; no more no less. There is no selection process. There is no ASD. And there are no significant laws or regulations to penalize those who are willing to interfere with the crew of a train or harm a train, especially not in relation to the airline industry, ”the officials said. Presidents of the two unions, Jeremy Ferguson and Dennis Pierce, in a joint statement, referring to the Transportation Security Administration.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to tighten security at stations in the Washington, DC area ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday, but it did not specify its plans.

Amtrak plans to deploy additional police officers on its trains and at stations to help ensure safety regulations are followed, spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said.

“We understand the importance of the upcoming inaugural events and that tensions are high due to the ongoing protests, so we are taking additional steps to continue to ensure the safety of our employees and customers,” said Woods.

The unions also called on the Federal Railroad Administration to step in and demand more safety. A spokesperson said the agency was reviewing the unions’ petition.

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