WASHINGTON — Amtrak is boosting security ahead of next week’s Inauguration and CEO Bill Flynn is asking that the Transportation Security Administration expand its “No Fly List” to include passenger rail service.
“After last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are taking extra steps to continue ensuring the safety of our employees and customers in Washington DC and across our network as we prepare for the Inauguration,” Flynn said on Thursday. “In addition to limiting ticket sales and requiring masks to be worn at all times, we are increasing our police enforcement to ensure strong compliance, remove non-complying customers and ban those that don’t follow our policies. This includes deploying additional Amtrak Police officers on board our trains and in our stations to support our frontline staff, and utilizing additional support from TSA and partner law enforcement agencies.”
Earlier this week, the leaders of the nation’s two largest railroad worker unions petitioned the Department of Homeland Security to enact what it called a “No-Ride List.”
“Even as of this hour, the only real requirement for a person to board a train is simply to have a ticket; nothing more, nothing less. There is no screening process. There is no TSA. And there are no significant statutes or regulations to penalize those willing to interfere with a train’s crew or to do harm on a train, especially not when compared to the airline industry,” Presidents Jeremy R. Ferguson of SMART-TD and Dennis R. Pierce of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said in their emergency order request.
After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, security surrounding air travel increased dramatically, but rail travel has changed little. However, following last week’s attack on the Capitol, people have been calling for better security in and around Washington D.C., including on trains.
President-elect Joe Biden was expected to arrive in Washington D.C. on a train early next week — a nod to his many years riding by rail while in the U.S. Senate — but this week, it was reported that he would skip the train ride because of security concerns. Last fall, Biden campaigned by rail in Ohio and Pennsylvania, marking the first time in more than a decade that a presidential candidate took the rails.