The national rail system Amtrak will be increasing security beginning Friday for a planned exercise that is not related to the Europe threat. The exercise, known as operation RAILSAFE, often takes plan over holidays when rail travel is up.
The exercise, which will include local, state, federal and railroad law enforcement agencies, is coincidental to a security alert in Europe in response to fears of a terrorist attack, said Steve Kulm, an Amtrak spokesman in Washington, D.C. Amtrak conducts such drills periodically, and this week’s exercise had been scheduled previously, he said.
RailSafe will include heightened station patrols, an increased security presence on board trains, explosive detection sweeps with canine units, and random passenger bag inspections, Kulm said today. Some uniformed officers may be carrying automatic weapons, while others will be in plain clothes while blending in with other passengers.
Amtrak officials aren’t disclosing in advance exactly where the security exercise will be focused, but it will include the national passenger rail system. At some stations, the exercise may only involve local police officers, while at others there will officers from additional law enforcement agencies.