Digest: Unions ask FRA, Homeland Security to increase security for D.C. Amtrak service

News Wire Digest fourth section for Jan. 12: VIA enacts schedule with new reductions; Sounder North cancelled because of rain, slide threat
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Tuesday afternoon rail news:

Unions seek increased security for Washington, D.C., Amtrak service

The leaders of two major rail unions have requested that the Federal Railroad Administration and Department of Homeland Security to address security vulnerabilities and protect riders and workers of Amtrak service in and around Washington, D.C., in the wake of the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol. SMART-TD (the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, Transportation Division) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen seek security personnel for rail operations similar to those involved in air travel, and action to increase security and increase punishments. A press release says the letter from SMART-TD president Jeremy Ferguson and BLET president Dennis Pierce recommends that “as a minimal standard, that any regulation granted to prohibit the interference of a train crew's duty be in line with that of aviation statutes and regulations.”

VIA makes schedule changes as COVID cases rise
VIA Rail Canada has released a new timetable effective today which reflects new service reductions as COVID-19 cases increase. The new timetable, available here, includes six daily Montreal-Toronto round trips and between one and three round trips daily on other routes of the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. Services that remain suspended include eastern Canada’s Ocean, the eastern portion of the Canadian and cross-border service via Amtrak.

Threat of slides forces another Sounder cancellation
Sound Transit’s Sounder North commuter rail service has been cancelled for the remainder of the week because of extensive rain and the continued threat of landslides, the transit agency announced this afternoon. Special bus service is available from Sounder stations; details, along with regularly scheduled bus alternatives, are available here.

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