Hot Rail Group Views

Rail Security and Safety comments from our CEO or staff

Washoe Sheriff's Rail Auxiliary helps the homeless

Rich Gent - Wednesday, January 09, 2019
This Christmas and New Year holiday, the Washoe County Sheriff's Rail Auxiliary teamed up with the Reno Ambassadors to help the homeless who were hanging around the AMTRAK station in Reno, Nevada.  The "RAT Pack" were able to locate homeless individuals in and around the station prior to the arrival of passengers and alerted the Ambassadors who were immediately on scene to help these individuals find shelter.  This was a win-win for AMTRAK and the city.   Read Entire Article Here

Rail Auxiliary Team supports AMTRAK's RAILSAFE

Rich Gent - Sunday, December 09, 2018

This Fall as well as during the Thanksgiving holiday the Washoe and Storey County Nevada Rail Auxiliary Teams supported AMTRAK's RAILSAFE by monitoring a challenging highway-grade crossing and patrolling the Reno AMTRAK station.  Teams like this provide augmentation to the AMTRAK Police and serve the smaller cities and towns where AMTRAK operates.  Additionally, these teams do not put strain on the local law enforcement as trained and fully vetted and badge law enforcement volunteers.   A win-win for all. Read Entire Article Here

Rail Suicide Prevention

Rich Gent - Saturday, September 10, 2016

Two weeks ago the Washoe County Sheriff's Department Citizen Corps graduated more than 40 volunteers who are trained on reportable situations on the railroad tracks to provide rail awareness reports to local law enforcement (who normally respond to rail trespass situations) for possible response. The 6 hour course covered topics from basic railroad operations, rail safety, worldwide rail terrorist incidents and a cutting edge topic; "Prevention of Rail Suicides in our Community."   The one hour segment, taught by the Nevada Suicide Prevention Coordinator, covered topics of why people consider suicide, the local demographics for suicides (in this case Northern Nevada highest rate is males over 60), what to look for should they see someone by the tracks and how to report to the railroad/local law enforcement using milepost, control points or Emergency Notification Signs correlated to local community streets or landmarks.   Read Entire Article Here

Explosives Stolen from CSX Train

Rich Gent - Friday, April 22, 2016

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but I knew this was going to happen and it did.  500 pounds of "fireworks grade" explosives stolen from a freight train.  What is really weird is that this happened two days ago and I just found out about it today, 4.22.16.  I'll keep listening to see if this does anything to get rail security moving forward or we will, like normal, do some short term fixes and the go back to normal.  I would like to applaud two railroads who recently had me talk about terrorism and railroads to their employees, that is the Northern Plains Railroad and Red River Valley and Western Railroad.  They, at least, had the foresight to train their people to look at things differently.  More to follow.   Read Entire Article Here

Trespass and Communications

Rich Gent - Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today I was walking my dogs by the railroad track and saw a white Dodge pick-up driving on the Maintenance of Way (MOW) road.  It was not railroad personnel, at least the truck did not have a railroad logo on it.  So, I called it in to the Risk Management Center.  The lady asked what I was calling about and I said I wanted to report a trespasser on railroad property.  I told her the railroad milepost and the sub-district as well as the location from the nearest town, the direction of travel, etc.  She seemed satisfied with all this information.  Now normally in the past when I have reported a trespasser the Dispatcher is on the radio and almost immediately notifying trains in the area; this time absolutely nothing.  So, I figured no trains in the area.  Then about 10 minutes later a Westbound Stack train rolls past.  I packed up the dogs and headed back home.  When I got back on the main road to head home, I noticed the local sheriff on the branch line which connects to the mainline where the trespasser was at.  So, obviously either the dispatcher sent the sheriff to the branch line or the sheriff didn't know that there was a main line too.  An obvious communication breakdown.  I guess it boils down to the risk management department being literally in a different time zone and communicating to a sheriff who is not fully trained on railroad operations.   Hot Rail is developing a solution to this communication break down called the Common Operational Picture (COP) which the military has been using for years.  Keep watching this webpage for developments.   Read Entire Article Here

Shotgun Shell in Coupler

Rich Gent - Monday, December 21, 2015
trained Read Entire Article Here

American's Disrupt Rail Terrorist

Rich Gent - Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thanks to courage and quick thinking, three American service members took down a terrorist on a French passenger train.  I truly hate to sound like a broken record but once again I am writing that it is not a matter of if but a matter of when it happens here in the United States.  I've attended and been a speaker at several rail security and safety conferences, discussed the terrorist threat in the U.S.  and either we (TSA, rail, state, local) law enforcement truly have a handle on the railroads and the terrorist threat or we are fooling ourselves.   I know that recently the FBI came out and said that they do not have a good handle on the Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE) and that they rely very heavily on the use of the See Something Say Something campaigns.  This leads me to a statement by a terrorist expert when I asked him about this.  His comment will always stay with me; "ya know, no one thought a whole heck of a lot about airplanes on September 10th." Read Entire Article Here

Guess who's looking now

Rich Gent - Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I was surfing on the web about the recent CSX oil tank train derailment in West Virginia.  I saw the normal news media, Fox, ABC, etc., but what I saw next shocked me.  Al Jazeera America, the Arabic language news media which is partly funded by the ruling family of Qatar was covering the story.  The news story basically had the same coverage as the U.S. news with pictures of the derailment and all the associated fireballs.  Now I'm wondering who in the Arabic world is looking at the conflagration and thinking outside the box and how rail could be used to further their cause through media coverage.  Just thinking who's looking at this.   Read Entire Article Here

Fear Mongoring

Rich Gent - Sunday, January 11, 2015
I was recently published in "Progressive Railroading" and "Rail Professional" magazines about open source intelligence.  The reason I am writing this is the day before the attacks in Paris I contacted the editor of Rail Professional (a U.K. magazine) because there was an article about MI-5 (U.K Intelligence) concerned about terrorism on their transportation system.  When I asked if there was any feedback to my article, the editor said "no" but a week after your article rail transportation security passed out flyers to the public on what to do in a terrorist situation.  The editor said there was pushback from the public that this was "fear mongering."  I got the same comments on "train orders" after my article on open source intelligence made it in "Progressive Railroading."  Well, folks the reality is that the bad guys understand the value of intelligence and will use every bit of information that is available to help fulfill their mission.  If their mission is to attack the rail infrastructure then guess what, they are pulling as much "intel" as possible from open sources.  And, we have a lot  out there for them.   Now, that I vented, how can rail enthusiasts help.   As I understand it, some do.   If you see something, hear something, read a blog post that doesn't seem right, report it.  Your tip to a law enforcement agency may be the one clue that could stop something bad from happening.   Don't let me cite this post after an attack on the rails and say the public thought it was "fear mongering."   

TSA Says “Active Again in the Near Future”

Guest Post - Tuesday, December 18, 2012

So, we just lost some more eyes and ears that could tell us about potential terrorist or criminal threats on one of our critical infrastructures. The “First Observer” program just lost funding by the TSA.

 Read Entire Article Here

Recent Posts