Amtrak to step up security efforts

Testifying this week before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor said that the passenger rail carrier is ramping up its security measures to detect and deter terrorists from launching attacks on trains.

According to Amtrak, these additional countermeasures will provide additional right-of-way protections for passenger trains, especially those operating on the Northeast Corridor. These measures will work in conjunction with existing anti-terror efforts that focus on threats related to the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in a station or train, as well as active shooter scenarios.

O'Connor said that the threats against rail are real and "the recent events after the death of bin Laden serve as a stark reminder that these threats continue to be viable."

Amtrak’s news of increase security comes as authorities in Iowa investigate an incident in which it appears that someone tried to tamper with a train switch that could have caused the derailment of a train carrying ethanol. According to a story published by ABC News, the FBI is investigating the incident, but it does not appear to be related to terrorism.

Last month, transit systems across the country announced that they were stepping up their security efforts in response to information uncovered in the raid that killed al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden that showed the terror group was targeting passenger rail lines.