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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.