Targeting Amtrak?

I’ve been in dial-up land since yesterday, so I’m not up to speed on the India attacks. Now stories are running about threats to Penn Station in New York City: Al Qaeda’s Goal: Cripple Amtrak’s N’east Corridor

It’s tough to know how to take this. Is this story one that is only being run (or noticed) because of the Mumbai attacks? Apparently, the FBI warning was made hours before the attacks in India, so the warning itself isn’t a reaction to events in India.

At least, with the terror in India still unfolding, we don’t have people going on and on about how this is just a Bush plot to keep people scared and that the inconvenience of guarding train stations is just plain stupid. Or how you’re more likely to choke on peanuts than be attacked by terrorists. They’ll start up on that crap around Monday, or so. Once they’ve had to wait in line a couple of extra minutes for their train.

UPDATE: Actually, now that I think about it, AQ’s best bet to bleed America dry would be to let Amtrak keep running its normal schedule.

UPDATE 2: My half-hearted attempt at Amtrak bashing was not really constructive in any way. Sometimes I’m a jerk. My apologies.


  1. Headline: Terrorist attack blows up twenty cars of a thirty car Amtrak train. Two dead, including suicide bomber.

  2. Murdoc,

    I don’t know about where you folks live, but in the Northeast corridor, there is a very low number of unsold seats. The “Downeaster” from Portland, Maine to Boston’s North Station turns a profit, and the trains running anywhere from South Station are nearly always full.

    South Station, in Boston, has always been a worry regarding attacks, as there is a large number of people there at any one time, especially between 6am & midnight. It’s a two-station affair, with trains in one and buses in the other, but lots of large, open areas packed with folks, vendors, and various levels. Easy access from one to another, and from multiple points outside going in. Lots of trains and buses parked together in their respective areas like the planes at Pearl Harbor.

    And, if you get to NYC’s Port Authority, that’s another HUGE area, with multiple levels and access points, even with the security details they have, and very large numbers of people during the day.

    Amtrak may be losing some money in other areas, but from Maine to Washington DC, it’s got a pretty solid chunk of revenue.


  3. Tim: I knew that the NE corridor trains were fairly busy, but I guess they’re even busier than I thought. I’ve blogged a few times about the Amtrak passenger train that passes through this area and it is always nearly totally empty, but I did know that wasn’t the case in the NE.

    What drives me crazy is that I’m actually a supporter, in principle, of trains. If there was a convenient train that I could take to work every day I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    In any event, I shouldn’t have made light of what appears to be a legit terrorist threat.

  4. While an attack on an Amtrak train makes for a quick headline splash, stop & think about it. It really doesn’t hurt us that badly. There are much mire fragile targets that could hurt us much more.

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