TSA rail security proposal to include freight engineers and conductors

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WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration will require all “security sensitive employees” of Class I freight railroads, commuter lines, and Amtrak to have formal security training under a new regulation published Dec. 16. The rules also will apply to over-the-road bus companies.

“Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees” is intended to improve employees' ability “to observe, assess, and respond to security risks and potential security breaches.”

The rule will require companies to establish formal TSA-approved training programs. Training should begin within a year. The Transportation Security Administration is the same agency responsible for a majority of U.S. airport security screenings.

According to the agency, the term security sensitive employees is a description that includes nearly every front-line position on a railroad: locomotive engineers, conductors, dispatchers, and maintenance-of-way employees. Each company will also be required to appoint security coordinators.
TSA takes particular note of the need to train freight railroad personnel engaged in the transport of explosive, toxic, or radioactive cargoes through “high threat urban areas.”

The TSA estimates the cost of implementing the rule to be $90.7 million for freight railroads, and $53.4 million for commuter railroads. The proposal lists no cost estimate for Amtrak.

Homeland security laws passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks gave TSA broad authority to regulate security on all modes of transportation. Until now, the agency's focus has been on aviation and maritime security. TSA officials say that the rules they are proposing now will be harmonized with maritime rules to create an overall security structure for surface transportation.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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