Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Homeland Security rides the rails


Amtrak to unveil new screening measures - Salt Lake Tribune

AMTRAK has finally been reminded they must join the new Police State.

I've been surprised they've laid low so long, what with terrorism pegged to trains in Europe so thoroughly. Until recently, we've been able to board almost all trains without harassment from the constabulary. Now we'll be subject to "random" (read: profiled) testing for explosives residues on our carry-on luggage.

This, of course, is only the most recent, most visible result of the War on Terrorism on the Rails. Travelers have long had to show official papers when picking up tickets at the station counters. Not from the automated ticket machines, of course, since we've already entered our most important financial documents (aka, credit card numbers) into the system to use them.

Soon, I'm sure, train travel will also require an official, Homeland Security-blessed ID card, just as commercial airlines demand now. Nostalgic images of crossing the border on the Orient Express will take on a new poignancy.

Papers, pliss?