TSA Begins Third Phase of Rail Security Experiment

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Beginning July 19, passengers may be screened for explosives while traveling on Connecticut’s Shoreline East commuter rail as part of the third stage of a pilot program exploring new measures for rail security. Passengers boarding from one of the eight Shoreline East stations may pass through a specialized railcar equipped with on-board screening technology as the train is in motion.

The goal of the Transit and Rail Inspection Pilot (TRIP) – Phase III is to evaluate the use of existing technologies to screen passengers and their baggage for explosives while the train car is in motion. The pilot will mark the first-ever attempt to screen passengers while in motion.

“The TRIP pilot tests have been successful thus far and screening passengers for explosives while on a moving train will allow us to learn even more about the tools we have at our disposal to enhance rail security,” said Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security at DHS. “This is another step in the process of identifying potential tools to improve security for the millions of Americans who travel by rail everyday.”

Screeners from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will normally conduct the screening of passengers Monday through Friday between 5:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Passengers will have their tickets or other document placed in a machine that will do an analysis to determine if traces of explosives are present. TSA screeners will also conduct an X-ray examination of carry-on bags and if necessary, a passenger or his carry-on may receive additional screening.

Because the pilot program focuses on explosives, passengers will be able to carry many items through the screening checkpoint that are prohibited on aircraft, such as scissors and pocketknives. Also unlike airport screening, passengers will not need to divest themselves of cell phones, keys, change and other metal objects before being screened.

“I appreciate the enthusiasm of passengers, the contributions of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the hard work of the screeners and staff that have made TRIP a success,” said retired Rear Adm. David M. Stone, U.S. Navy, TSA’s Acting Administrator. “We have already learned a great deal about this technology and its impact on the traveler and will use these lessons to further improve rail security.”

Phase I of TRIP was completed at the end of May and consisted of screening passengers and their carry-on baggage for explosives at the Amtrak/MARC rail station at New Carrollton, Md. Phase II tested checked baggage screening at Amtrak’s Union Station in Washington, D.C., and was completed in early July.

— U.S. Newswire

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