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The one reason why I took trains instead of planes for destinations within 90 minutes of flight was the ease of just getting on board with NO hassles. "Those that give up a little freedom for a little security deserve neither." Ben Franklin. Now Amtrak will begin screening.


Amtrak spokeswoman: Armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol stations

Amtrak has had few changes to security since 9-11 terrorist attacks

Security experts have long pointed out the vulnerabilities associated with rail travel

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amtrak passengers will be subjected to random screening of their carry-on bags as part of a new security initiative that will include armed officers and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains, an Amtrak spokeswoman said Monday.

Amtrak passengers board their trains November 21 at South Station in Boston, Massachusetts.

Details of the new effort, which were first reported by The Associated Press, will be announced Tuesday, the spokeswoman, Tracey Connell, said.

Unlike airlines, Amtrak has had few visible changes to security since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but in recent years trains have been the targets of terrorism.

In 2004, bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, killed 191 people. A series of bombings in London in 2005, most of them on subway trains, killed 52 people. And security experts have long pointed out the vulnerabilities associated with rail travel and the difficulty in securing trains.

Amtrak chief executive Alex Kummant told AP the new measures are not a response to a "new or different specific threat," but rather, he said, "just the correct step to take."

Amtrak plans to roll out the new "mobile security teams" on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, Massachusetts, its most heavily used route, before expanding them throughout the country.

The Transportation Security Administration, which already conducts sporadic deployments of security teams, called VIPR teams, to train stations around the country, welcomed the Amtrak initiative.

"Anytime security is enhanced, we are very supportive and this random, unpredictable model is one we strongly endorse and practice ourselves through VIPRs and other initiatives throughout transportation systems," TSA spokesman Christopher White said.
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