In response to security activities, what safety measures has Metrolink taken to assure the safety of the operator of the train and passengers?
Immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, incidents, the SCRRA initiated a threat assessment of all of our major facilities, including L.A. Union Station and other maintenance and operation locations. Since that time, Metrolink has undertaken a number of additional steps to increase our security efforts, including:
In addition, Metrolink has implemented some additional measures since the attacks on trains in Spain on March 11, 2004.
What are some of the "additional security measures" we can expect?
Metrolink is working with the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and others within the railroad industry to determine what the best practices with regard to safety and security are, and how best to implement them. Some of the additional physical security measures Metrolink is considering include capital investments, i.e. lighting, fencing and redirection of access to our facilities. You may have already noticed a heightened presence of law enforcement personnel at L.A. Union Station and onboard Metrolink trains.
How often are Metrolink railroad tracks checked for tampering, bombs and things that could cause a derailment? How often are the trains inspected?
Metrolink regularly performs inspections on all its tracks. These inspections are conducted on a random basis rather than any sort of regular, predictable schedule.
Metrolink trains are brought to our Central Maintenance Facility every weekday for service. Our maintenance personnel inspect trains while they are there for any damage that has the potential to interrupt service.
Why doesn’t Metrolink have guards at all its stations? Does Metrolink work with cities to ensure safety at its stations?
Metrolink stations are generally owned and operated by the cities in which they are located; the Riverside County Transportation Commission operates the Riverside stations. The station operators, not Metrolink, fund the guards and/or security personnel passengers see at various stations. In most cases, the station operators either hire private security guards or have their police department patrol the station on a regular basis. Metrolink is working closely with all of our station cities to make sure that they are aware of the security concerns expressed by our passengers.
How do I report a problem when I’m on a train? What else can I do to help?
Passengers who see any unusual or unsafe activity onboard our trains should contact the conductor immediately. Metrolink conductors are equipped to handle a variety of emergency situations. Additionally, our conductors can communicate directly with the Metrolink Operations Center to get assistance from law enforcement officials and emergency response teams during an emergency.
Will Metrolink start using metal detectors or any other security equipment at stations or on the trains?
In June 2008, Metrolink Sheriffs began deploying their Transit Passenger Random Baggage Search Program to further strengthen rail security and discourage or deter violent criminals from carrying weapons, explosives or other dangerous items in or onto the Metrolink transit system. According to the Transportation Security Administration, random baggage inspections are an effective security tool for deterring individuals who may pose a threat to passengers’ onboard commuter trains. Since predictable security can be exploited, the screening program will be unpredictable and occur at variable times and randomly determined stations. These measures were not adopted in response to a new or particular threat and are being implemented in full coordination with the California Department of Homeland Security.
Metrolink Deputy Personnel and canine teams will conduct random searches of any article of baggage that a passenger is carrying or transporting via the Metrolink transit system prior to the passenger entering the train. Baggage is defined as any bag/briefcase, suitcase, shopping bag, handbag, fanny pack, or similar personal container, or any paper or opaque plastic bag, or package, parcel or other object that is being carried by or in the possession of any passenger that is being transported or is intended to be transported in or on the Metrolink transit system. The procedures will not affect published train schedules. Random passenger baggage inspection is a quick process and will typically take less than a minute. The randomly selected passengers can expect the inspection process to occur swiftly and in a minimally intrusive manner to ensure the passenger’s travel is not affected.
Any passenger may refuse to permit an inspection of their baggage. The individual shall be advised that their entry into the Metrolink system will subject them to a search of their baggage. A refusal to permit inspection will result in the individual not being permitted to access the Metrolink system. Deputies will request that the passenger leave the facility.
I see a lot of Sheriffs riding the trains. Are they part of Metrolink?
Metrolink does have its own L.A. County Sheriff’s Department unit, but many of the uniformed Sheriffs and other law enforcement officers you see riding the trains are on their way to their regular duty stations. Metrolink provides free transportation for sworn law enforcement officers in uniform and these officers are prepared to assist in any emergency situation.
Does Metrolink have its own security force?
Yes. Metrolink has its own L.A. County Sheriff’s Department unit, which provides security on our trains and along our routes.
Security at Metrolink stations is the responsibility of the station cities, which own and operate the stations. Metrolink is working closely with all of our station cities to make sure that they are aware of the security concerns of our passengers.
Would it be possible to get access to one of the engineers operating the trains? Are their areas secured?
Access to the engineers in our locomotives is very restricted. They sit in a separate car with a secure door that is not opened while the train is in motion. When our engineers are riding in the cab car, they are in a separate area and the access door to their area is securable as well.
Are there security devices built into the trains so that they can’t be hijacked?
Metrolink trains are very sophisticated and next to impossible to run by anyone who is not trained and experienced with our operations. Our trains can only operate with proper wayside signals, and these signals are controlled from a central dispatch location. The engineers must acknowledge the wayside signals, and that acknowledgement varies by train.
What additional security measures are being taken at L.A. Union Station?
Metrolink has increased the number of uniformed L.A. County Sheriff’s officers on the platforms at L.A. Union Station. Since 72 percent of Metrolink’s passengers come through L.A. Union Station, we feel that the increased presence of uniformed officers will present a deterrent force.
Additional security measures at L.A. Union Station are the responsibility of each of the tenants of L.A. Union Station (Amtrak, MTA) and the building management company.
Amtrak police have increased their patrols at L.A. Union Station, and the LAPD has been requested to make more frequent visits to the station during routine patrols of the area. Announcements about unattended baggage are being made every 15 minutes, and parcel check has been restricted to ticketed passengers with photo IDs.
In addition, Amtrak now has ticketing security measures in place, private security guard presence at L.A. Union Station has been increased and safety teams are being briefed on security awareness by Safety Dept. & Police.
Is there anything I can do to help make the trains safer?
We are asking our passengers to join us in our efforts to keep Metrolink trains and passengers safe. Below are some recommendations for how you can help: