In the wake of today’s bombings in London, a heightened Homeland Security alert has gone out to ground transit systems across the country. Amtrak Spokesman Mark Magliari says the passenger trains took action as the news was breaking.He says early today Amtrak raised its “internal threat level,” and later in the day, the Homeland Security Administration did the same thing. Magliari says “We’re asking our 25-million passengers to join with our employees to report anything they see that’s untoward on the railroad, in the trains or in the station.” Travelers are an important part of rail security, he says. “If you see something unusual, say something,” he suggests. Report it to a conductor or ticket agent in the station, or if you board a train and something seems not quite right, tell the railroad workers and they’ll take action. As with air travel, there are some things you can’t take on the train. Firearms and similar weapons are banned from trains, he confirms. Also, the railroad reserves the right to randomly inspect carry-on baggage and identification. Magliari says there’s been no specific against Amtrak or the U.S. railroads. Buses also stop in many towns across Iowa, and Greyhound Anna Folmnsby says while they don’t come under a mass-transit alert issued by the government, the city-to-city buses have their own security system. She says the bus line’s own security measures coordinate with the threat level issued by the Department of Homeland Security, and “as a precautionary measure,” Greyhound has increased security measures today. She adds Greyhound has been operating at a “heightened level of security” with policies of its own.She says no-tolerance policies for passengers or people in bus stations are in effect and any unruly behavior that could be interpreted as dangerous won’t be tolerated. The bus line also urges travelers to keep luggage with them, as there’s more awareness that an abandoned item could mean danger. There’s also random wanding at select locations, more security cameras and workers, and all the bus drivers have preprogrammed cellphones. She says they’re loaded with quick-dial numbers for local law-enforcement agencies as well as dispatchers at Greyhound headquarters. Officials at Iowa’s commercial-service airports say they don’t have to tighten security — with T.S.A. staff and screening in place, they’ve received no orders from Washington to do more.
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