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Programs and Initiatives

Freight Rail

Surface Transportation Security Inspection Program

The Surface Transportation Security Inspection workforce program deploys 175 inspectors in 54 field offices to perform surveys and conduct inspections of freight rail operations throughout the nation. The efforts of the inspectors are focused on the areas of highest risk in the freight rail industry. The inspection program is responsible for verifying implementation of voluntary security measures, conducting vulnerability assessments, and conducting regulatory compliance inspections. The inspectors also act as local liaisons to rail carriers and other government agencies for emergency planning and response. This vitally important component of layered security is set to expand in 2009 to 225 inspectors nationwide.

Corporate Security Review Program

TSA is continuing the Corporate Security Review (CSR) Program to evaluate the progress of the freight rail industry in the implementation of their security programs. Since the inception of the Freight Rail Division in 2002, TSA worked closely with the railroad carriers to determine the level of security throughout the industry. In coordination with freight rail stakeholders, TSA has issued guidelines in the form of security action items and recommended protective measures to enhance freight rail security, particularly as it applies to the risk associated with the transportation by rail of toxic inhalation hazardous materials. The CSRs' not only assess how a carrier's security plan addresses the transportation of hazardous materials, but also reviews and assesses the effectiveness of the plans in the following areas:

  • Communication of Security Plan
  • Audit of Security Plan
  • Cyber Security
  • Protection of Critical Assets
  • Security Awareness Training
  • Personnel Security
  • Threat Assessment

In addition the CSR's also provide carriers an opportunity to update TSA on system- wide improvements as they relate to the implementation of the security plan.

TIH Material Tank Car Consequence Analysis/Validation Project

This project will identify a scientific- and computer-based methodology supported by industry, government, and the academic community that can be used to predict the behavior of a catastrophic release of toxic inhalation hazardous (TIH) materials released after an attack on tank cars in a densely populated urban area. There are numerous computer models available to estimate the effects of TIH material releases.

These models, when used to attempt to replicate recent accident scenarios such as the tank car derailment and subsequent chlorine releases in Graniteville, S.C. in January 2005 and Macdona, Texas in June 2004, have shown more severe effects over a much larger area than those actually observed and reported. This has produced a major divergence in opinion among the affected parties as to the expected consequences of a large TIH release, and uncertainty about the best use of DHS resources to address the problem. Understanding the reasons for the discrepancies and addressing them in future modeling activities are essential if DHS is to adequately assess the threat of mass casualties and large economic losses that could result from a large-scale TIH release.

The project will focus on the complex phenomena that take place as the material is released from the tank to form a cloud commonly denoted as the "source terms" and understanding the most appropriate way to model the resultant TIH cloud to provide the expected consequences of the release.

Understanding the TIH Material Rail Tank Car Vulnerability

This TSNM Freight Rail project assesses the vulnerability of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Specification 105J TIH material tank car to the weapon threats that would likely be used in a terrorist attack. It calls for explosive modeling and actual field weapons testing, and includes:

  • Assisting in the development of rail security vulnerability reduction measures;
  • Estimating release rate from the breached tank car for emergency response and dispersion modeling purposes;
  • Estimating the formation of the TIH materials plume; and
  • Developing and incorporating new technologies that can provide the rail tank car protection from attack

Corridor Assessment/Comprehensive Review Process

The diagram below shows the Freight Rail division's Corridor Assessment Comprehensive Review process.

Diagram showing freight rail corridor assessment/comprehensive review process

Latest revision: 05 August 2014