As you may know, last week government officials issued a warning, based on information obtained from al-Qaida prisoners, which said terrorists may try to destroy bridges or key sections of railroad infrastructure and tracks.
In its warning, the FBI said, “The group has considered directly targeting U.S. passenger trains, possibly using operatives who have a Western appearance.” \
The FBI also said that captured al-Qaida photographs of U.S. railroad engines, cars and crossings increased the agency’s concern about the threat. Intelligence officials continue to believe that al-Qaida plans to attack targets that would be readily recognized as representing U.S. economic interests, the FBI said. The FBI said Amtrak has increased patrols, and freight railroads have tightened security. (Read the FBI’s Oct. 24, 2002 statement)
Because of last week’s warning, I contacted my railroad on behalf of my local to get more information on what exactly my men could and should be doing in regard to terrorism threat to railroads. The railroad sent over a checklist of “Indicators of Terrorism” from the Assoc. of American Railroads specifically drawn up for railroaders working a job.
AAR DRAFTS LIST OF “INDICATORS OF TERRORISM”
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has put together a list of “Indicators of Terrorism” to help railroad employees increase awareness of suspicious activities on railroad properties. Employees are encouraged to look for:
- 25-35 year old males extremely interested in specific railroads and resources.
- People soliciting detailed railroad information in casual situations.
- People showing up immediately prior to a train’s arriving and departing immediately after it leaves.
- People who are in the wrong place or dressed inappropriately along the rail line.
- Suspicious vehicles, motorcycles or mopeds at crossings and along right-of-way.
- Automobiles that move with you along your route.
- Unusual occurrences like disconnected brake hoses and abnormal signals.
Please pass along the AAR’s list of “Indicators of Terrorism” at your local, lodge or divisional meeting, and as always, please remember to be careful out there – especially during these times when railroading is more dangerous than ever.