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Mississippi Rail Lines Step Up Security Measures

By Daniel Cherry | Published 15 Jun 2011 06:44pm | comments

Security officers and rail lines are stepping up safety measures across Mississippi and the nation after threats to trains in the U.S. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the heightened alert is affecting railroad traffic through the state.


The TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have increased their efforts to make sure rail lines are safe after the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound revealed plans to hit American trains.

At the Amtrak station in Jackson Colleen Bradford is heading to New Orleans. She says even with the threats she's felt safe the whole time.

"They're pretty secure with the way we got checked in and everything. I think they're pretty secure about what they look for. They're looking for suspicious people. I feel pretty safe about going with Amtrak though."

Amtrak decided to increase safety measures after someone tampered with a track in Iowa which could have caused major damage and loss of life. Jay Leadbetter is the director of the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security. He says they're not expecting an attack, but they're keeping their eyes open.

"What I saw were plans for derailments. They were primarily passenger car derailments or chemical car derailments and they were positioned to be in the larger cities, in the urban areas of the larger cities to cause the most destruction."

Leadbetter says terrorists normally go after symbolic national targets which he says Mississippi doesn't really have. Diane Pleasant is about to board the Amtrak. She says she hasn't noticed the security bump, but she trusts them to keep passengers safe.

"I depend heavily on public transportation to take care of things for us. I think if it needs taken care of they're good at seeing what's necessary and taking the proper steps. Better safe than sorry anytime."

Security officials say there has been an increase in reports lately, but it's most likely due to more thorough track inspections.












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