Britain Plans X-ray Scanning at Some Railway Stations

Moves to airport-style security scanners on rail network to prevent terrorism


Britain is planning to test airport-style security scanners at railway stations in an effort to prevent possible terrorist attacks, the government said Monday.

The proposal, part of a raft of anti-terrorist measures being looked at in the wake of the July bombings in London, will be tested starting in January on the Heathrow Express rail link between the main airport and central London.

Passengers at London's Paddington Station will be chosen at random to pass through X-ray machines before making the 15-minute trip to the airport.

The Department for Transport confirmed the plans, but would not comment further ahead of Wednesday's official announcement.

Newspaper reports on Monday said that if the trial was successful, the scanners could be extended to Gatwick Express rail link, and King's Cross and Euston stations in London - and ultimately might become a routine prelude to all long-distance journeys nationwide.

The four alleged suicide bombers who killed 52 bus and subway passengers on July 7 boarded a commuter train from Luton - a town just northwest of London - to King's Cross, apparently carrying their explosives in backpacks.

Security expert Bob Ayers, associate fellow of Chatham House, a respected international think-tank, said the idea wouldn't work.

"You can spend millions of pounds on this and all you've achieved is made the terrorists use car bombs instead of train bombs," Ayers said. He added that to equip and staff every station on the network would be an inordinate cost.


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