Amtrak Fencing Needed For Public Safety?

Posted by Dawn Lowndes on Tue, May 31, 2011

In Terrorism, Amtrak Fence

Define safety

  1. the state of being safe; freedom from the occurrence or risk.amtrak fence
  2. the quality of averting or not causing injury, danger, or loss.
  3. a contrivance or device to prevent injury or avert danger.  

A specific case highlighting numerous Amtrak related deaths in Middle river Maryland, which is northeast of Baltimore City shows the grave need for safety fence near populated areas with exposed rails. All of the Middle River Amtrak deaths are tragic and include the death of Anna Marie Stickel. Anna was a 14 year old girl who was killed on the tracks in January of 2010. This particular death and other closely related incidents initiated a dramatic public response that promted Amtrak to respond in the following postive way.  

A lot of sources have chimed in on the  Amtrak Safety topic :
AN article published by The Amtrak Police Department titled; Amtrak installing new heavy steel fence along High-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland informs the public that,
Amtrak is installing a heavy steel, 8-foot high, high security fence along a portion of its high-speed tracks in Middle River, Maryland to deter access to the railroad. The Middle River community is located about 11 miles north of Baltimore and is within the busy Northeast Corridor home to frequent and daily Amtrak train service.  The section of track where the fence is being installed includes Acela Express and Northeast Regional service that operate at speeds up to 125 mph as well as some freight train traffic.  
Beginning in late-April, work will commence work on the installation of new fencing on both sides of the tracks from Martin Boulevard southwest to where it meets up with an existing fence. (See Fence Contractors) A portion of the existing fence also will be replaced.  In all, more than 6,400-feet of fencing will be installed and additional “No Trespassing” signs will be posted.     

Baltimore Sun reported the following in April of 2011  
But now Amtrak is planning to do something about the problem. It's going beyond what this column urged and is spending $3.1 million to rip out the chain-link fence entirely and replace it with a barrier it believes will deter even the most determined would-be trespasser. The new 8-foot-high fence will run from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road, a section that includes the spot where Anna died. Amtrak spokeswoman Danelle Hunter said the railroad is investing in an Impasse Anti-Scale Fence System, so named because it is designed to be difficult to get over. Hunter said it will be sunk into the ground so intruders can't get under it and will be made of sturdier material than chain link so an intruder can't get through it with bolt cutters.  

Hurricane Fence professional Todd Jones says
“He has come to understand that intruders on the track are a great concern to the train operators. Having the potential stress of hitting pedestrians or vehicles causes them undue work related fatigue.”  

The $3.1 million fencing project will take approximately six months to complete. When completed, there will be nearly two miles of continuous fencing from Martin Boulevard to Stemmers Run Road. Individuals may use the pedestrian underpass at Martin Boulevard, which will also be improved as part of the project, to safely cross to the other side of the tracks.   


“The new fence will make it harder for a person to access the tracks, but to achieve maximum safety individuals must make the right decision to stay off the tracks and not use it as a shortcut,” says Amtrak Chief of Police John O’Connor.  

“Our most important goal is safety,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. “I am pleased Amtrak is taking these significant steps, building taller and stronger fencing. I thank everyone who had a role in this project, working together to make Middle River a safer community for everyone.”    

Amtrak asks public to join efforts to improve safety and security of America’s Railroad

PASS program helps protect passengers, trains and stations

To help protect Amtrak passengers, trains and stations, America’s Railroad is starting a new neighborhood watch style program that encourages passengers and the public to be on alert and report safety or security issues.

The goal of the Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security (PASS) program is to utilize the knowledge of passengers and community members who travel throughout the Amtrak national system in identifying behaviors or activities that are unusual or out of the ordinary at stations or on board trains. Items that should be reported to Amtrak Police include trespassers, vehicles near the railroad, suspicious packages and vandalism.
“The PASS program enhances our efforts to further engage the public and passengers to say something when they see something that they sense is just not right,” said Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor.

Amtrak also participates in Operation Lifesaver, a national, non-profit organization that promotes education, enforcement and engineering solutions to prevent trespasser incidents.  Amtrak’s work in Middle River includes the installation of the new fence, community outreach by the Amtrak Police Department to the local high school and local law enforcement, and active police patrols of the area by Amtrak and Baltimore County Police.

by Mark Schnyder
Posted on May 6, 2011

atfp fence

After the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence warning sent to law enforcement around the country suggesting trains and train tracks could be a target, I checked with Amtrak Friday morning to see if there were any changes in security at St. Louis area Amtrak stations.

Here is Amtrak's response to my question:
"Amtrak received the DHS advisory.  Furthermore, there are several members of the Amtrak Police Department assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country. As such, we are immediately privy to any intelligence with respect to threats against rail.  Amtrak employees remain at a heightened state of vigilance and we will employ appropriate countermeasures as and when necessary."
The spokesperson said they would have no further comment.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.  He can be reached at  

Compiled by Dawn Lowndes