TSA Requiring Security Training Plans by Dec. 21

Railroads and transit systems are facing a December deadline to submit to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration their plans on compliance with rules on security training.

Freight and passenger railroads along with “higher risk” transit systems must submit those plans by Dec. 21, 2020.

Trains magazine reported on its website that some forms of railfanning might be deemed to be a security threat.

This includes watching railroad or transit operations, or taking photographs.

Part 1570 of the regulations includes as examples “taking photographs or video of infrequently used access points, personnel performing security functions (for example, patrols, badge/vehicle checking), or security-related equipment (for example, perimeter fencing, security cameras).”

Also described as a suspicious activity is “loitering near conveyances, railcar routing appliances or any potentially critical infrastructure, observation through binoculars, taking notes, or attempting to measure distances.”

The rules apply to all Class I railroads and any freight railroad that hosts Class I carrier or passenger operator.

Rail lines handling hazardous materials and those operating within a designated “high threat urban area” are also covered by the rule.

The TSA lists 46 such areas in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

TSA estimates that the cost of compliance to the freight railroad industry will be $35.2 million over a 10-year period.

It will be $23.8 million over the same period for passenger carriers and transit operators.

“The regulation isn’t as onerous as it may appear,” said Harry Schultz, a TSA section chief.

Railroads and transit agency must have a security coordinator and at least one alternate security coordinator who must be accessible to the TSA 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Significant security violations are to be reported to the TSA within 24 hours.

Affected railroads and transit systems must provide security training to any employee or contractor operating, inspecting or maintaining a transportation vehicle and to those responsible for dispatching.

Also covered by the rules are workers who come into contact with the traveling public, such as ticket agents and onboard train staff.

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2 Responses to “TSA Requiring Security Training Plans by Dec. 21”

  1. pwwoodring Says:

    Here we go again having to fight a First Amendment battle over being a railfan. What they call “some activities” that might be suspicious and prohibited are the very heart of being a railfan. Get ready, more harassment is coming to a train watching spot near you!

  2. Walter E Zullig Jr Says:

    Although the rule appears on its face to be reasonable, it should, but does not, require the training to state that railroad and transit photography is LEGAL. Without that information, some rail/transit employees who have their personal anti-photography agendas are likely to use this as an excuse to attempt to forbid photography. That can only lead to bad misunderstandings and lawsuits by the photographer/victims of such misinterpretations.

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