Amtrak to make security changes

Railroad plans to screen passenger bags, will add to security and bomb detection operations

Amtrak hopes the new force can serve as a powerful deterrent to would-be terrorists.

"What we are trying to do is make sure the bad guys know we're out there but don't know where we'll be, or when," Rooney said.

Amtrak did not provide figures for the program's cost, but said its total security budget - including police, security strategy and emergency preparedness - is about $60 million. The railroad has about 400 security personnel, including about 300 sworn police officers, Kummant said.

Amtrak's previous passenger screening consisted of sporadic identification checks by train conductors, which the railroad says it plans to continue. Passengers also are required to show ID when buying tickets from station agents, though there is no such requirement from passengers buying tickets from self-serve kiosks.

The Transportation Security Administration is also expected to continue sporadic deployments to stations around the country.

Amtrak has received a number of federal grants aimed at boosting security, but officials said there was no specific mandate to implement the changes.

"There is no new or different specific threat," Kummant said. "This is just the correct step to take."


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