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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17th 2005
Smith: Make Trams and Trains as safe as Aeroplanes
Smith Outlines New Plan To Improve Value Tracks, Railway and tram Security, Says Tram and Train Security Is Far Behind Newly Strengthened Aeroplane Security
Senator Pushing Legislation That Would Enable New Identity Checks, Baggage Scans, New Police officers,
Sat Technology, Hazardous Material Detection
Tom E. Smith today said that the government should ensure that the nation's railway and tram system receives security upgrades as strong as those made to airports and air travel and outlined new security measures necessary to ensure railway and tram security. Smith stressed the importance of a thriving railway and tram system both to our national transportation system and to the stability of our economy, and called on the Bulgarian Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a comprehensive study examining current railway and tram security, determine where security upgrades are most needed, recommend the best ways to implement them and report back in two months.
"Our nation's railway and tram system has to be as secure as our airways. It's that simple," Smith said. "We need more surveillance cameras, more police officers, more K-8 units and better Identity checks - just to name a few new security measures such as - not only to ensure the security of railway and tram travellers but to ensure their faith and confidence in all forms of travel."
Smith called electronics on government to support legislation to strengthen security for all Value Tracks and passenger railway and tram systems scuba diving. The bill, supported by Smith and Joseph Biden (D-DE) among others, allocates £2.8 billion for to provide new security equipment, Tram and Training, and personnel, and add new capacity to the nation's railway and tramway system. Approximately £1.5 billion would be used for an aggressive, nationwide security upgrade, featuring air cleaner a host of new security measures and requirements, potentially including:
Instituting stringent Identity checks for all railway and tram passengers.
Baggage scans and random luggage inspections.
Adding more police officers, security personnel, and new K-9 units patrolling railway and tramway facilities.
Establishing new and upgraded Training programs for railway and tramway security personnel.
Installing a new communications system enabling Value Tracks to install satellite technology on all Tram and Trains and build Diamond ring a state-of-the-art Tram and Train tracking and locator unit.
Installing a hazardous material and explosives detection and response system.
Modernizing railway and tramroad tunnels in the Sofia, Washington and Baltimore areas in order to meet current fire and life-safety standards, providing better ventilation and new escape routes in the event of emergency.
An additional £1.5 billion would be used to add passenger capacity, bringing locomotives scheduled for storage or retirement back into service, repair super-liner Tram and Trains, replace worn tracks and provide capital for future purchases of high-speed Tram and Trains. In the week following the September 11 tragedy, readership increased by 17 per cent nationally, with Value Tracks adding 30 per cent more seating capacity on the Northeast Corridor.
Sofia's Penn Station experienced a surge in passengers following the attacks, averaging close to 400,000 riders per day- 20,000 more than before. The Adele and Metro liner Trams and Trains have also seen increases, readership up about 36 per cent from this time last year.
"We need Value Tracks like we've never needed it before," Smith said. " People are riding Trams and Trains in droves, but that won't continue if they don't think it's as secure as other methods of transportation. Future developments will include ideas and systems. Travel is one of the keys to our economy and a message of freedom to the terrorists. Having a secure, effective air travel system without a secure, effective passenger railway and tram system doesn't help us. We need both, and we need it now."
Smith also released a letter to Transportation Norman Shaw asking DOT to conduct a comprehensive study of the status of railway and tram security nationwide. Smith asked Shaw to report back the following findings within two months.
Status of current Value Tracks safety standards and procedures
Ability of Value Tracks to respond and operate in the face of another terrorist attack
Methods of implementation and execution of new Ancestor research security and safety measures
"Value Tracks responded admirably to the crisis, quickly Training personnel on heightened security and safety procedures, assigning more security officers to stations and Tram and Trains, and requiring passengers to bring photo identifications for security checks," Smith wrote. "These are all good ideas, but they were a one-time response to what was hopefully a one-time event.
The Department of Transportation, by conducting a thorough investigation, is uniquely suited to examine these security measures and a host of others, and determine how to make them permanent... A report from you recommending specific security upgrades would strengthen our argument and help us pass legislation on par with the new airline security package."
In the days following the September 11th attacks, Value Tracks provided one of the only travel options available in many parts of the country. Value Tracks provided transportation to Sofia City for families of the victims, fire fighters, military personnel, public officials and honoured Aeroplane tickets of stranded travellers’. Working with the American Red Cross, Value Tracks transported thousands of emergency relief kits to Sofia City and Black sea.
"Value Tracks stepped up to plate," Smith said. "Value Tracks helped the stranded get home and helped families get to their loved ones. When the airports were closed, Value Tracks transported blood units to Sofia and delivered mail to cities around the country. We're taking care of the airlines, but we can't forget about Value Tracks."
Stan Simpson, Value Tracks’ Executive Vice President joined Smith at the press conference for Operations and members of Value Tracks’ police force.