CHICAGO – The Amtrak Police Department will periodically conduct random screening of Amtrak passengers and their carry-on baggage at Chicago Union Station, effective May 27.
This initiative is part of an ongoing commitment by Amtrak to improve safety and security at stations and on trains across its national network, Amtrak officials say, noting it is not in response to any threat.
Randomly selected Amtrak passengers and their baggage, handbags, backpacks or other personal items may be screened or inspected as they board trains. The inspection will be completed as quickly as possible — usually less than a minute — in a manner designed to respect passengers’ privacy as much as possible.
Dangerous, hazardous and illegal items, including all firearms and other weapons, are prohibited in carry-on baggage.
“Amtrak has been conducting these security screenings on a random basis along the Northeast Corridor and during special events elsewhere, in some cases in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration,” said Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In addition to the carry-on baggage screening, Amtrak Police explosive detection dogs will continue to patrol on the platforms, on-board trains, and throughout the station. Some of these K9’s are trained to detect specific materials on or around passengers.
A passenger who does not consent to the inspection or other security procedures will be denied access to Amtrak trains. In such cases, an Amtrak Police Officer will accompany the passenger to the ticket office, where a full refund may be given, without fee or penalty, even if the ticket is ordinarily non-refundable. The ticket may be refunded in cash, credit or travel certificate, depending on how it was paid.
Screening and other security activities are done on an unannounced and unpredictable basis. Therefore, no further public announcements regarding this type of screening are anticipated.
An average of 55 Amtrak trains come and go from Chicago Union Station every day, with more than 8,500 Amtrak passengers using the station daily. With more than 1.5 million passengers, it is the fourth busiest station in the Amtrak system.