Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by David McDonough, Jul 4, 2013.
No checkpoints or searches...
I'm in Chicago and noticed them too. I arrived yesterday from the Milwaukee Airport where there were about four TSA inspectors and a Milwaukee County Sherrif with his dog. Luckily for me I got my full photo essay and they didn't say anything nor do any searches. My next stop of the day was a two hour layover at SVT there was also a TSA inspector as his jacket said on the platform watching both my trains pass through. He dissapeared during the 2 hour layover and didn't bother me except we did chat about trespassing when a man looked like he was going to try and cross the tracks with his luggage to avoid the overpass after we got an announcement that the train would be wrong-railing into the station. We both yelled at him to use the overpass which he luckily did.
They show up in Norman OK from time to time when the southbound Heartland Flyer comes through but generally just piddle around on the platform, look around a bit and watch pax board. The most I've seen them interact is casual chat with passengers, possibly a result of the passenger asking them a question.
I have seen them board the train many times in Buffalo. Guns at their side. They question folks on where they born and where they are going. Did not see them last trip. Saw them last May on the EB west of Chicago, but cannot remember the station. They spent quite a lot of time with an elderly oriental traveling with family, who did not have his cards with him. Daughter translated that he does not realize he needs them. Frustrated TSA's just told the daughter to make sure he has them in the future. They were all very polite and then got off the train.
Not TSA. Border Patrol. TSA agents are not armed.
TSA were on the NYP concourse when I went up to Boston a couple weeks ago. It looked like they were going to do random checks.
I don't like this. I'm going to PVD from CHI in about a month and a half and I refuse to have anything to do with those blue-shirted...things.
I can hope that getting my ticket and making a beeline for the Metro Lounge, then hanging out in there until boarding, will be enough to keep me away from them, but if I wanted to be treated with suspicion by a pig-thug I'd have taken an airplane instead.
I have AmtrakOfficial as a news channel on Flipboard (tablet news software) and they released a new video about RAIL-SAFE. I really hope this isn't a sign of more TSA nonsense in train stations. Maybe it was just a 4th of July thing, but I worry anyway.
I feel much LESS safe whenever TSA is around.
Well, today for the SWC, they had 2 lines, people with suitcases and no bags were free to go, but people with backpacks were forced to a search of all there belongings. They had 2 machines set up on the table but I am not sure what they were for.
Any other details? Did they open up bags and rifle through possessions? Take anything out of bags? Ask any questions?
Who was doing the search - APD/CPD officers or TSA clerks?
Did anyone refuse? If so, what happened?
On a related note, just penned this letter which I intend to send to Amtrak customer relations as well as APD. (JoeBas and anyone else who frequents TUG will be familiar with my lengthy letters)
Anyone know the best way to send it to them? Mailing addresses for Amtrak and/or APD?
UPDATE: Revised edition of letter.
Homeland Security was all over Portland Union Station today between the departure of #11 and the arrival of #14. About a half dozen agents in black with "Homeland Security Police" on them and about another 6 plan clothes agents that you could obviously tell were "packing heat" I was standing in the boarding area in full T&R Uniform wearing my ID and they questioned me about why I was there and asked for further ID. I did not see them take away anyone
Yesterday was a National Holiday. Why are people surprised to see increased security?
What or where is TUG?
What is T&R and why would wearing a T&R uniform cause further ID checks and questions?
T&R is, I believe, Trails & Rails. He does narratives on the train.
No clue regarding TUG, but suspect it's anti-TSA.
Duh. It's still early for me. Thanks AB.
Here's the video CW referred to from Amtrak's Official YouTube channel:
TUG = Travel Underground. Sorry, I get so used to using the abbreviations at that site I don't notice when I'm using them in unfamiliar company.
Thanks, CW - I'm going to check it out.
I DESPISE TSA and won't fly because of it.
I experienced crappy, typical TSA ugliness on my last flight in 2011.
Like you, after my first Amtrak trip I became a full blown rail aficionado.
The thought of having to deal with security theater anywhere enrages me.
For me, it's either the train or drive.
I don't drive long distances or on highways at all so, for all solo travel, it's the train for me.
I'd be sad if the train wasn't an option anymore because I love it so much, but not so much that I'm going to subject myself to TSA BS.
That's where I'm at. We took a road trip to Houston this January since I'd never been on one and we figured it'd be an adventure, and it was. Again, no security anywhere, and a LACK of security is GOOD.
I'm still trying to find a mailing address to send this letter to in hopes that someone at Amtrak will care and give me a meaningful response. Anyone know the best way to get a long document like this to them? I'm assuming it's well beyond any character limits that would be imposed on web comment forms.
Put it in an envelope and mail it to them?
Yeah, why are people surprised to be searched and surveilled while in the process celebrating their independence?
Right, that's my plan, just trying to track down a mailing address. They don't make it easy to find on their website.
...Aaaaaaaand found it. http://trainweb.org/crocon/contactamtrak.html
Now just need to do the same thing for Amtrak Police Dep't.
Next thing you know, the sheeple will be thanking the TSA for their service.
It's not that I'm surprised, per se. I wish I were, but I'm not. Dismayed, however, is something I would certainly say about my feelings regarding this.
Safety is not universally self-justifying. There are times when it is okay, preferable, or even necessary to remain unsafe in the service of some other goal. In a(n ostensibly) free country, preserving privacy, dignity, rights and a well-founded perception of liberty is one such goal that should supersede safety and security in importance and vigor of pursuit. The fact that the holiday in question is a celebration of exactly that kind of goal is only further grounds for objecting to an ever-expanding, ever-encroaching (and ever-incompetent) security apparatus. Doubly so when the incident whose response entailed the creation of such an apparatus (9/11) is physically impossible in the paradigm of rail travel - plainly, no train can be driven off the rails into a skyscraper - and when there are far, far easier ways to threaten a train than by bringing something onboard by way of a large, metropolitan rail terminal.
No, TSA has no place in train stations, nor should they ever be allowed to think they're welcome. APD is actually good at what they do and has no need for incompetent federal clerks (not officers, not agents) causing problems for them, Amtrak employees, or (most importantly) Amtrak passengers.
Not that driving gets you as much freedom as it once did. Ever hear of "No Refusal Weekend"? I like to call it "What Fifth Amendment? weekend".
Sheeple, yes; real people, ones that remember this country for what it was once: don't think so
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