May 7, 2010
The classifieds in this issue include three chief executive officer positions!
Mineta Institute Report Examines Rail Attacks
The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a research report titled Off the Rails: The 1995 Attempted Derailing of the French TGV (High-Speed Train) and a Quantitative Analysis of 181 Rail Sabotage Attempts, reporting on ways high-speed rail operators can keep their services secure from possible attack: for example, physical barriers, surveillance, alarms, and cyber security to prevent tampering with electronic controls.
Authors Michael Jenkins, Bruce Butterworth, and Jean-François Clair state: “Rail lines are obviously vulnerable to sabotage. They are easily observable, accessible, and difficult to protect.”
However, “Despite the vulnerability of rail lines, terrorists have attempted far fewer derailments than attacks on train stations or on trains themselves ….”
The attack on the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) between Lyon and Paris on Aug. 26, 1995, involved the planting of a bomb to cause a derailment.
But the triggering mechanism failed to set off the bomb, and subsequent analysis showed that even if the bomb had gone off, it would not have derailed the train.
The authors noted that they collected and analyzed information regarding recent attacks on trains in Europe and Asia to help U.S. leaders develop ways to prevent such attacks, aid in response and recovery, and address the psychological impacts of attacks to business continuity.
“The United States must systematically conduct research on terrorist strikes against transportation targets to distill lessons learned and determine the best practices for deterrence, response, and recovery.”
The full text of the report is available online.