It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The New Al Qaida Threat - A Railfan's View

page: 1

log in


posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:14 PM
I come to you, at the time of this being written, from the Amtrak station at Charleston, West Virginia. After hearing and reading about the supposed threat to the rail lines that Al Qaida had been caught with earlier this month. I had been wondering if there was any truth to this threat. I say this since the United States government claimed that they had found the plans after the raid on Bin Laden's hideout. It begs to be questioned, "Is there really anything legitimate to this threat?" If there is anything legit about this "threat" then why not keep it on the hush hush.

Is this threat legitimate or not? I say that it is time to do a little bit of investigating while I was at the Amtrak station. As I walked the platform area, a man came by me carrying a duffel bag and an MP3 player in his right hand. This man had just gotten off work at one of the places down the street and was on his way home. No hostile threat there I do believe, right? Seeing as to how he walked down the steps at the east end of the platform. As I continued to pace about the platform. I realized that I could see for at least one half mile along the tracks in each direction from where I was at. What did I see that was either laying on or near the tracks. Nothing that could pose a serious threat to anything or anyone. Since I was here at the Amtrak station, which is closed on Saturdays. I thought, "Why not take some photos of what I see?" So I decided to grab my camera to see if I could photograph anything near the tracks. I have included the following four photos to give you folks some what of a perspective as to what I found or saw on the tracks.

What I saw down there would barely even constitute as a threat to most people. I mean just exactly how are you going to derail a train with a leftover piece of a railroad tie that the maintenance crews threw out. "They would more than likely use something small" as some people might say. Then again the only reason that the old pair of sunglasses are lying there is because someone no longer wanted to use them. As I looked inside the Amtrak station from where I sat. It states as plain as the daylight on this sunny day that this facility is under twenty four hour video surveillance. Could I see any of the cameras from where I sat? Yes, I could see the cameras inside the depot from where I was. In fact, the platform is in a fairly open area. If anyone is one the platform at any given time day or night. You can clearly see them from either the road that goes up the hill or from the bridge above me. It is kind of pointless to say that the station area is closed off when it is not.

What most people do not realize is that all of the freight railroads do have alternate routes that they can use. Let's say if something happens on a particular railroad's mainline. Whatever freight travels that line will be taken off and placed on another for a period of time. Each railroad has a contingency plan of their own pertaining to what to do in case a mainline is taken out of service. What they will do is put the traffic from the affected line on to other lines on their system. Or, if it is a line with a high traffic volume. Some of the traffic will be routed onto the rails of another railroad. This would be done to keep the traffic flow moving without having to hinder other movements on lines where traffic has been moved to. This is done to keep high priority products and services, like UPS or the Tropicanna Juice train, from being no more than an expected fourty eight hours late to their destination. Even if a terrorist organization were to target a freight line or multiple lines. It would have to be simultaneous attacks on the railroad to even throw a slight kink into the chain of "Supply and Demand." Let's say tht someone decides to take out a bridge over a river or other body of water. If you take out the bridge that was already there. A week later, there will be another bridge in the place of the original. Or, if someone decides that they are going to take out a tunnel. If they succeed at taking a tunnel out. A week or two later, repairs could have been made and the tunnel placed back into service.

Be that as it may or may have already been. The railroad have started to realize about five or six years ago that they have a many a sets of extra eyes and ears out there. Does the government keep an eye out for the railroads? In all honesty, the federal governement could care less about what happens to the railroads. What the railroads have came to realize is that the average person can become their new "eyes and ears." Railfans, myself included, can be used as the eyes and ears for the railroads. In 2006, BNSF Railway started the "Citizens for Rail Security" program that actually encourages people to report suspicious activity on or around railroad property. In a similar fashion, Amtrak just started a program of their own that is quite similar to C.R.S. just a few months ago. Again, it is done so that the public can report any suspicious activity to either railroad law enforcement or local law enforcement.

I will end this thread by saying a couple of simple things. Does the government honestly think that they are going to scare people so bad that it keeps railfans from going out and taking photos or video along the railroad? To be honest, it is not going to keep us railfans from going out and taking any photos. A lot of railfans that I have spoken to do not believe that there is any substance to this threat. To the folks that say, "You railfans do not know what you are doing when it comes to security." Actually, it helps to have a keen eye for the strange and out of place if you are a railfan yourself or know of any railfans. I can guarantee you that any person that has been in this hobby for an extended period of time could spot something out of the ordinary. They could find
anything out of place or something that should not be on or near the tracks. If anyone could notice anything out of place near a rail line. It would be a railfan that notices whatever it is first.

With that being said and all. This is your roving railfan, Gimmefootball400 on location at the Amtrak station in Charleston, West Virginia on a cool and sunny Saturday morning.

posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:38 PM
Gimmmmmeeeeee!!! Great thread with a unique and all-true view from a railfan. Enjoyed the read and the photos.

posted on May, 21 2011 @ 11:46 PM
Great thread, bro, S+F. I think it's in the governments best interest to have watchful railfans out there, who can quickly report on potential railway problems that you speak of.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 12:34 AM
If I were a terrorist, intent on inflicting the most pain, suffering, death, and destruction possible by attacking the US rail system, I wouldn't even bother with an assult on an AMTrak train.

As I posted several years ago, the most effective method is often, also one of the simplest:

posted on 27-9-2006 @ 02:08 PM From a previous posting:

"If the US is attacked again, on a par with the scale of 9/11, I'd expect a train-borne chemical attack on one or more major cities.

Given the hazardous, even deadly, materials transported through the heart of some of our largest cities by train, given the predictability of those shipments and their accessabilty to tampering, I'm amazed nothing has happened yet.

As with the hijackers of 9/11, learning to run a train is made simple by the commercial availibilty of detailed computer simulation games. And there are no Air Marshalls aboard freight trains!

Model train enthusiasts across the country have faithfully recreated routes and terrain, to scale, of virtually every mile of track laid across the Nation; perfect for determining assault points. Take your digital camera to the next model train show and plot your strategies. Remember, it's all to scale!

Butane, Propane, Chlorine, Flourene, Anhydrous Ammonia, liquid oxygen, Nitric, Sulfuric and Hydrochloric Acids all there on the hoof, clearly labeled on the very cars themselves, if you can read the codes (just study up on haz-mat procedures).

Heck, you don't even need to be suicidal, Allah be Praised! Just slap an explosive package on the appropriate tank car and let a cheap GPS device trigger the detonation. Who's going to check every square inch of a two mile long freight train?"

Update: I've spoken with an ardent train enthusiast to confirm the basic points in my "Next Attack" scenario above. As it turns out, such an attack would be even easier to accomplish than I had first supposed. One concern I had was, in light of the risk posed by these rolling bombs, that some sort of "on-board" video surveillence system may have been incorporated.

My fears were unfounded. It appears that the only monitoring system a rolling train utilizes is an "End-of-Train-Device"; it's only function is to alert the train's engineer to problems with the train's wheels, brakes and couplers.

Imagine the economic "mass destruction" shutting down the nation's freight railways, it's primary means transporting its consumer goods, food, produce and raw manufacturing materials, would cause!

Now unless the government (perhaps with the assistance of Millions! of ardent railfans) intends to patrol virtually every mile of the nation's freight rail system, I'm afraid such a devasting attack as outlined above, is virtually inevitable.

Assuming, of course, that there do indeed exist "terrorists" willing to carry out such an attack.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:08 PM
Wow, looks like I really killed this thread.

I just hope somebody paid attention, our lives are at stake.

Then again, maybe that's why this thread is being quietly lead to its grave?
And would that imply that "TPTB" have some, heretofore unseen and/or unacknowledged "sway" over this forum?


posted on May, 22 2011 @ 01:57 PM
My response would be that there is no threat. The US has gotten away with this # time and time again. How many terrorist threats do they warn about? How many actually happen? When they do happen is there any evidence at all that it was some pissed off haji did it? Ask yourself those questions before getting too serious about ANYTHING that the gov tells you. The Canadian gov is just as bad, believe me, just better liars lol that's how I can see thru this # so easily.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 03:22 PM

Originally posted by Bhadhidar
If I were a terrorist, intent on inflicting the most pain, suffering, death, and destruction possible by attacking the US rail system, I wouldn't even bother with an assult on an AMTrak train.

As I posted several years ago, the most effective method is often, also one of the simplest:
Now unless the government (perhaps with the assistance of Millions! of ardent railfans) intends to patrol virtually every mile of the nation's freight rail system, I'm afraid such a devasting attack as outlined above, is virtually inevitable.

Assuming, of course, that there do indeed exist "terrorists" willing to carry out such an attack.

Here's my problem with the way that the government deals with the railroads.

Out of all of the government subsidies that recieve funding for security and training. The railroads get the least amount of funding out of everything. Want to know who it is that gets the most funding from the government? It's easy, just look at the bailouts that the government gave the airlines a few years ago. All because of something that happened nearly ten years ago, the federal government refuses to change their point of view on what is a higher security risk. The federal government could actually care less about what happens to the railroads.

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 08:56 PM
reply to post by gimmefootball400

Yes, unfortunately, what you are saying is true.

And this is in large part due to the fact that the government, like almost all hierarchial organizations, is basically Reactive rather than proactive: they are only motivated to act after something happens, rather than before something happens...

...because if you prevent it, how can you prove your actions were needed? How do you justify the funds you've spent on a "non-event"?

On the other hand, if you wait until something terrible happens, its easy to use the fear generated by that tragedy to get the permission, and funding, you need to take (ironically enough) "preventative" measures!

So, it is unlikely that any funds, or any real effort, will be expended in defense of our nation's rail system until AFTER we loose a city center to a terrorist's "Train-Bomb".

posted on May, 22 2011 @ 10:04 PM
This is what makes me mad when it comes down to this and the way the government thinks about it. These guys have always taken a back seat to the airlines ever since the railroads were deregulated back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That way the Federal government did not have to completely oversee such things as regulatory rates for shipping material on different railroads. The feds even allowed the railroads to basically get rid of the caboose that would be on the end of the train. The excuse the railroads used was, "That a caboose was unnecessary due to improving technology." In certain cases, that actually turns out to be true. However, say if a particular rail line goes through some very remote terrain. Like a mountain pass or a desolate river valley. How exactly are train crews going to know if something is visably wrong with the train without someone on the rear to check it? You can't always go by that "End of Train" device that every single train has now.
edit on 22-5-2011 by gimmefootball400 because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 23 2011 @ 01:46 PM
I have read this thread a few times and I am still not sure I completely understand, perhaps it is because I admittedly know nothing about railways, it’s just never interested me, I would much rather spend my time womanising and drinking.

From what I have read of your thread you are pointing out that the government has said biased on intelligence that the rail network was a proposed target of Al’Qa’ida and you hold the view that this would not have been a sensible choice for Al’Qa’ida as disrupting the rail network would have very little long term effect or economic impact.

From what I have read of your thread I can agree with you that it would be stupid for terrorists to target the rail tracks to cause disruption. However this surly does not mean that the idea of a terrorist attack on another part of the rail network is possible, for example the attacks in London and Madrid. Also what is to say that a terrorist does not target a freight train full of highly explosive gas, and detonate a bomb on the train as it is going through a built up area to cause a massive explosion.

I think that there is still a threat to the railways. Again I apologise if I have misunderstood your post

posted on May, 26 2011 @ 10:45 PM
If any rail system is going to be attacked here in the United States in the future. Its going to be either a trans-con passenger train or a commuter train. However, I say that someone would blow up a freight train carrying say chlorine, or butane, or benzene, or liquified petroleum gas. To say something like that would cause a lot of damage is futile though. You are not going to cause that many casualties if that were to occur. May cause a disruption in rail traffic for a week or so. However, it will not or may not cause that much collateral damage to peoples lives or properties around the incident. A recent example would be the rear end collision between two CSX trains, Q618 and the Q194, down in Union County, North Carolina. Even though the crew of the stack train, Q194, perished in the accident. It did not cause any damage to property in the immediate surrounding the accident site. However, it did cause some inconvenience to local residents that had to evacuate due to the tank cars full of vegetable oil burning. Not to mention the fact that it also inconvenienced a lot of motorists in the area where a few roads had to be shut down because of it.

Now, I do realize that most of you do not have an interest in the railroads and that is fine with me. I know that most of you will say, "Why not take out the tracks with a bomb?" There is just one "little" technicality that I see with that reasoning. What most people don't realize is that if you were to take out just the tracks alone. The dispatcher for the line that you took out the tracks on would know that something is a miss just by looking at the computer screen in front of them. You see, the dispatcher will know that something is wrong when a "Track Occupancy Light" appears on their computer screen. What happens is this, when the "track light" is on it means that something is fouling a section of track that is not occupied by a train. When this happens, the dispatcher is not able to change the signal on the affected track or tracks. Therefore, the dispatcher will know upon the arrival of a railroad maintainer to the cause. He will then know whether or not if the circuit between the signals has been broken or not. That way, you can get the proper men and equipment to the location without having to put a train and its crew at risk.

posted on May, 26 2011 @ 11:06 PM
Great thread OP. Killling a few hundred on a train wouldn't bring the need to implement TSA scanners at train stations (Madrid bombings case and point).

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 08:45 PM
reply to post by R3N3G4D3

Are you saying it wouldn't justify it? Nothing justifys violating personal freedoms at the expense of temporary security.

posted on May, 27 2011 @ 09:07 PM

Originally posted by R3N3G4D3
Great thread OP. Killling a few hundred on a train wouldn't bring the need to implement TSA scanners at train stations (Madrid bombings case and point).


What you are saying is that you would rather see one or two hundred people on a train die just so that you can have that false sense of security that the federales has "promised" us? Here is the major problem that I have with that. We should depend on ourselves to look out for one another and it should always be like that. We should not have to depend on some government official that may or may not have a clue as to what they are doing while providing overly authoritive rent-a-cops just so that some of us will feel like we are "safe and secure." However, I forgot that a lot of people now don't look out for one another because they only look out for themselves and what is good for them.

Seeing as to how you would want to wish or see death befall a few hundred people. I leave you with this quote.

There are some sick, sick, SICK people. Mentally SICK... People are sick when they do something like that...Those are some sick people, sick in the head.

posted on Jun, 30 2011 @ 01:27 PM
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply with what I am about to say about an incident that occurred near me about four years ago.

In reference to one of the previous posts about it being a chemical or flammable liquid bourne bomb. I forgot to mention an accident that happened here back in 2007 with a freight train carrying some really volatile liquids.

On Feburary 6th, 2007, CSX freight train Q302 derailed about fifteen to twenty cars carrying everything from liquified petroleum gas to chlorobenzene to chlorine itself. I would say that the response to the incident went off without a hitch, but I would be lying through my teeth there. It took at least a half an hour to forty five minutes from where the train crew had told the dispatcher what they had until the first calls to 911 were placed. Then it takes another fifteen to twenty minutes for the fire department to respond to the incident. That happened due to the fact that the firefighters, an all volunteer department, had been awakened by what happened and began getting their families out of town. In fact, my county, Kanawha had no choice but to declare a countywide "State of Emergency" that lasted for about eight hours. I had heard from someone saying that, "If anyone of those cars were either burning or leaking, the whole of Kanawha County and western Fayette County would have had to been evacuated." It was one of those nightmarish scenarios that you prepare for and one that you hope does not happen.

So in reference to one of the previous posts about a freight train being attacked by someone. It could happen but its highly unlikely that it will happen with in the near future. It is just that the possibility of an attack like that happening is very slim. I mean I'm not saying that it will not happen today. It is just the slim possibility that it can happen and if it does happen. It can happen at any where and at any given time day or night. I mean, when that Norfolk Southern train carrying derailed and the tank car full of chlorine ruptured in Graniteville, South Carolina. The emergency crews and the Emergency Operations Center evacuated people within a ten mile radius of the incident due to the chlorine exposures.

new topics

top topics


log in