Statement on Calls to Increase Security for U.S. Passenger Rail
January 15, 2021
Statement from Rail Passengers Association on Calls to Increase Security for U.S. Passenger Rail
For Immediate Release (21-01)
Contact: Sean Jeans-Gail (202) 320-2723; [email protected]
Washington, D.C. – Statement from Rail Passengers Association’s Jim Mathews on Calls to Increase Security for U.S. Passenger Rail:
“The safety of passengers is the paramount concern for our organization, and we will support any policy that can be shown to lead to safer onboard conditions. Given the recent violence that has taken place in our Nation’s capital, along with the unruly behavior of a small number of passengers that Amtrak employees have been subjected to while carrying out their duties, we support calls by employee organizations and Amtrak for additional security measures ahead of next week’s Inauguration. These enhancements include an increased police presence at Washington Union Station, increased onboard patrols of trains to and from Washington, D.C., and banning passengers who cause disruptions and ignore established safety policies.
“In the long-term, however, we oppose the permanent establishment of any TSA-style security screenings as practiced in U.S. airports. Given the wildly varied nature of Amtrak stations—which range from basic rural structures to grand urban concourses—airport-style screenings simply will not work for train stations. Unstaffed stations, open to the public and with open platforms, can't do any kind of pre-screening. And to attempt to close off grand buildings like Washington Union Station or Moynihan Train Hall to the public would be to kill a vital social and economic hub of American life.”
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works and plays in towns all across America.
"On behalf of Amtrak’s onboard service staff, I want to thank the Rail Passengers Association for honoring their hard work with this award. The past couple years have indeed been difficult for Amtrak onboard service staff – coping with furloughs and job insecurity, adapting to changing protocols and services, not to mention the unfortunate events such as a tragic derailment and a fatal shooting. Nevertheless, our dedicated members at Amtrak have handled these hurdles with the care, attention and diligence for which they’re known. We thank Rail Passengers for their acknowledgement of our members’ hard work and, as always, look forward to seeing you on the rails."
Arthur Maratea, TCU/IAM National President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.