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Old February 1st, 2010, 12:08 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by K_ View Post
One thing is overlooked in this whole discussion.

Terrorism in the Western World is rare. Extremely rare even. So rare that all the resources and effort invested in screening passengers and protecting transit facilities is better employed elsewhere.

Whenever you leave the house (or whenever you stay at home for that matter) there is a non zero chance that something awfull happens to you. The chance however that the something awfull is "being the victim of a terrorism attack" is for all practical purposes zero.
I'm assuming the current paradigma where we, Westerns, afford excessive expenditure to avoid cathastrophical events. I take this paradigma for granted.

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Every day around 15-17 Eurostar trains depart Paris Nord for London. Passengers are screened before embarking, and all luggage is screened. So far no bomb has exploded on this train, so one could be tempted to think that the security measures worked. However, on the platforms next to where the Eurostar leaves about 28 Thalys services leave for Brussels every day. Passengers are not screened before boarding. So far no bomb has exploded on this train either. Nor have any bombs exploded on the other TGV services leaving from Paris Nord, nor on the suburban or regional services. The luggage screening Eurostar passengers are subjected to is an exercise in futility that frustrates passengers, affects Eurostar's profitability and does not add any security whatsoever.
There are other reasons for such controls. United Kingdom is NOT part of the Schengen area and has a far more rigid immigration control system than the rest of EU. Look at the hords of wannabe illegal immigrants concentrated in Calais trying to get into British territory.

Moreover, as a new service, the Eurostar set the bar high. The "Chunnel" was delayed more than 20 years out of fear of providing a too-easy link from uncontrolled people and goods from mainlaind Europe, and sealed platforms with advance immigration controls were part of that deal, though it would be not that different than if they had chosend to put immigration facilities at disembarkment points in England.

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There is a reason why bombs don't explode every day on our trains, busses and planes. The reason is quite simple. There are not a lot of people in the world that want to explode bombs on our trains, busses and planes. And every time these people attempt to explode a bomb on our trains, busses or planes they lose a team of operatives, whether succesfull or not...

The group of hard core terrorists, the kind that doesn't flinch at killing innocent people in job lots is very small. They follow a tactic that cannot work in the long term without our cooperation. Unforatunately we are cooperating with them. We are cooperating by allowing ourselves to be frightened by something that is not posing a serious risk. We are doing the terrorists' job by allowing ourselves to be terrorized. By accepting all the inconvience caused by pointless security theatre.
There was a wave of high-profile airjackings in the 70's by palestine terrorists, and also a wave of high-profile armed robberies in banks in Italy and France in the late 60's. Increased security measures reduced a lot aircraft hijackings (virtually impossible today after 9/11, virtually impossible in "high-value target" airlines like El Al since the 80's). Increased bank security measures dramatically reduces bank violent robberies, diverting criminal activity elsewhere or curbing it.

This argument reminds me of the tougher immigration screening at US-Mexico border set up after 1983, which drove waves of criminal/illegal immigrants to try dangerous desert crossings. Many mainstream politicians in US argued that it would be better to spend the money elsewhere, but clearly such measures increased the price (cash, life risks from criminal gangs to extreme heat and dehidratation) of crossing illegaly into US, which in its turn avoided that what is now a severe problem could had become unchecked invasion of American territory by illegal Mexicans and other Latin American immigrants (contrary to what happens in some European countries by the way...)

So, to a certain extent security measures work. Because we, Westerns, are highly risk-aversa, we preffer to spend excessive money in security than to have reasonable risk exposure.

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Stop worrying about terrorism, and stop investing time, money and effort in useless measures like passenger screening. Keep a good working intelligence operation by all means, but if you want to make flying or riding the trains even more safer than it all is give the money and the resources to those who have so far done a stellar job making travel safe: The engineers en technicians running the whole thing behind the scenes.
Safety is different than security. Turly unavoidable accidents are more tolerated by the public than evil planned terrorist attacks. Death counts are not all the same, 9/11 being the best example of that.

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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Why don't we make it mandatory to scan all cars entering roadways for bombs just in case they could be used as a car bomb? Sorry, where do we begin to draw the line when it comes to paranoia?
A car bomb in a highway couldn't to that much damage. Particularly, in non-terrorist cases one would have to attach the bomb to a vehicle, and damage would be limited.

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Originally Posted by parcdesprinces View Post
Anyway, except (sometimes) two cops with two militaries in the stations, there is absolutely none (visible) safety policies in our famous high speed trains, neither in cities' public transports (Tram, buses, suburban trains, Métro. etc)


What could bring apparent safety regulations ??? Except fear and suspicion... ?

So, no need to tell the people it's unsafe, no need to show us (imho, of course) !
Percpetion of security, for public calmness matters, is almost as important as real security in place. Just think of a cop controlling a bunch of unruly teenagers by approaching them with a dog versus 4 cops approaching them with smoke grenades and rubber shotguns. If they are just unruly, not defiant, they will fear the cop with the dog more than the 4 cops group.

Random security scanning in train stations, or even better, with the train in movement or after everyone boraded before departuting, would be an interesting measure.

Today, one can travel almost anonymously in certain trains, except for those that have nominal tickets. It is just too easy to avoid control and monitoring riding trains (urban systems, at least, are heading towards RFID ticketing systems).
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Old February 1st, 2010, 12:27 AM   #42
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A car bomb in a highway couldn't to that much damage. Particularly, in non-terrorist cases one would have to attach the bomb to a vehicle, and damage would be limited.
So, car bombs are not very deadly? The Canary Wharf Bombing was merely a minor event that didn't cause much damage? If it were not for the telephoned warning and the fact that the bomb was later at night, it would have had the potential to kill an awful lot of people.

Not convincing enough? How about the 1996 Manchester Bombing too. 1,400kg worth of bomb was hidden within a vehicle.

Not forgetting of course the 1993 Bishopsgate bombing which caused over 1 billion pounds worth of damage. Again, thank goodness for the telephone warning. I guess the devastation wasn't too extreme though:



What about the Harrods bombing? Another car bomb. Or perhaps The 2001 Ealing bombing. Maybe the BBC bombing too.

These bombs were vastly more damaging than those used on the London public transport network in 2005. The only reason the human cost was so much higher in the London bombings of 2005 is that no telephoned warning was given by the bombers and so people were not evacuated. Approximately 80,000 people were within the blast radius of the Manchester bomb before it went off and were safely evacuated, hence why there were no fatalities. Can you imagine how many people would have died if there was no telephoned warning by the terrorists?

This is why I don't buy into the hyperbole about public transport being a target. If terrorists seriously want to kill people they will through any means necessary. It is not as if we can police where cars are on our roads and neither should we be installing metal detectors or anything like that in our train stations. Do you seriously think any measures could have stopped the Tokyo Subway attacks when the Sarin was actually released from plastic bags wrapped in newspaper? Oh, and by the way, a refrigerator lorry was used prior to this attack in 1994 to release clouds of Sarin gas over areas of Tokyo where judges resided killing 7 people and injuring 500. Guess cars can still be used to transport chemical weapons too!
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Old February 1st, 2010, 09:21 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
This is why I don't buy into the hyperbole about public transport being a target. If terrorists seriously want to kill people they will through any means necessary. It is not as if we can police where cars are on our roads and neither should we be installing metal detectors or anything like that in our train stations. Do you seriously think any measures could have stopped the Tokyo Subway attacks when the Sarin was actually released from plastic bags wrapped in newspaper? Oh, and by the way, a refrigerator lorry was used prior to this attack in 1994 to release clouds of Sarin gas over areas of Tokyo where judges resided killing 7 people and injuring 500. Guess cars can still be used to transport chemical weapons too!
These are more worrisome attacks hard to be prevented anyway. Still, I do think people moving together at high speeds in close quarters ought to be properly screened. It makes me feel more safe once I know there will be a lower probability of a angry teenager armed with assault weapons on my train.

If anything, it creates a greater security awareness and facilitites other surveillance activities like taking illegal immigrants off the streets and deporting them, for instance, or checking people with criminal convictions on the loose. The underlying greater issue is that there are few checks and controls on people moving through high-speed trains in Europe. It is almost like riding your local shopping mall van shuttle. A side effect of security measures in airports is that it makes people who are looked after by authorities to avoid airports. Even smuggling drugs through airplanes, for instance, is a very risky enterprise because of dogs, x-rays etc. On the other site, one are not more prone to be caught smuggling drug on TGV Atlantique than if he/she were walking with 10kg cocaine packs on his packback in any given street.

Trains are too friendly nowadays and, as such, do not deter people whe don't want sharing our public spaces like drug dealers, convicted criminals, illegal immigrants, and, of course, terrorists. The measures put in places to screen terrorists can also deter other kinds of socially undesirable (like the ones aforementioned for trafficikng, illegal immigration etc.). If trains were to be less friendly, people would be more aware of their surroundings while travelling too. If people were afraid (those who have to be so) of being checked by the police, they would avoid taking the trains and reduce their unwanted mobility. I'm far more aware of conversations on the aisles of an aiport near my departure longue than, say, in an Italian sanbeach in Sicilia. After all, I don't want to be trapped at 14.000m with someone who decide his time for martydom (and mine) has come, or anything like else, so I'm eager to help police authorities if I ever see or hear anything suspect in an airport.

It is hard to make the case that it is a good thing that drug dealers have almost unlimited mobility in our trains, for instance - Just twice I've seen a sniffing dog squad in stations or inside trains in my errands on high-speed lines in Europe, while in airports they are pretty common. Ostensibly armed guards are rare on train stations too.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:03 AM   #44
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Trains are too friendly nowadays and, as such, do not deter people whe don't want sharing our public spaces like drug dealers, convicted criminals, illegal immigrants, and, of course, terrorists.
I don't share public space with drug dealers, convicted criminals and illegal immigrants on a regular basis, not because of security measures, but just because those type of people are rare. The worst kind of crime I've ever seen on public transport is fare evasion...
Really, you should get a grip. The chance that the person sitting next to you on a train is anything else but a normal, decent human being is negligible. I don't want to see trains become "less friendly" only to cater to your unfounded paranoia.

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After all, I don't want to be trapped at 14.000m with someone who decide his time for martydom (and mine) has come, or anything like else, so I'm eager to help police authorities if I ever see or hear anything suspect in an airport.
I hope you don't have a dishwasher. If you do, get rid of it. After all, the chance of it killing you is far higher than the chance of you ending up on the same flight as a successful suicide bomber. If you are so worried about terrorism how worried must you be about the risks of being killed by lightning or by a freak accident with a household appliance?

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It is hard to make the case that it is a good thing that drug dealers have almost unlimited mobility in our trains, for instance - Just twice I've seen a sniffing dog squad in stations or inside trains in my errands on high-speed lines in Europe, while in airports they are pretty common. Ostensibly armed guards are rare on train stations too.
The case for the pointless war on drugs is even harder to make...
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:08 AM   #45
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I'm assuming the current paradigma where we, Westerns, afford excessive expenditure to avoid cathastrophical events. I take this paradigma for granted.
I'm assuming the we don't have unlimited means, something I thought you (who profess to know a bit about economics) would be aware of.

The right paradigma is to expend resources to prevent catastrophical events based on how likely they are.

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There are other reasons for such controls. United Kingdom is NOT part of the Schengen area and has a far more rigid immigration control system than the rest of EU. Look at the hords of wannabe illegal immigrants concentrated in Calais trying to get into British territory.
Yes, but they are also scanning luggage, which is pointless, and wastes my time.

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Random security scanning in train stations, or even better, with the train in movement or after everyone boraded before departuting, would be an interesting measure.
It would be a big nuisance, and would achieve zilch.

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Today, one can travel almost anonymously in certain trains, except for those that have nominal tickets. It is just too easy to avoid control and monitoring riding trains (urban systems, at least, are heading towards RFID ticketing systems).
And pleas let it remain that way. I don't want every single one of my travels to be accompanied by a paper trail.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 11:02 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
These are more worrisome attacks hard to be prevented anyway. Still, I do think people moving together at high speeds in close quarters ought to be properly screened. It makes me feel more safe once I know there will be a lower probability of a angry teenager armed with assault weapons on my train.
As opposed to those travelling at high speeds on an Autobahn?

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
If anything, it creates a greater security awareness and facilitites other surveillance activities like taking illegal immigrants off the streets and deporting them, for instance, or checking people with criminal convictions on the loose. The underlying greater issue is that there are few checks and controls on people moving through high-speed trains in Europe. It is almost like riding your local shopping mall van shuttle. A side effect of security measures in airports is that it makes people who are looked after by authorities to avoid airports. Even smuggling drugs through airplanes, for instance, is a very risky enterprise because of dogs, x-rays etc. On the other site, one are not more prone to be caught smuggling drug on TGV Atlantique than if he/she were walking with 10kg cocaine packs on his packback in any given street.
Or, like most people, they'll smuggle drugs in private vehicles.

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Trains are too friendly nowadays and, as such, do not deter people whe don't want sharing our public spaces like drug dealers, convicted criminals, illegal immigrants, and, of course, terrorists. The measures put in places to screen terrorists can also deter other kinds of socially undesirable (like the ones aforementioned for trafficikng, illegal immigration etc.). If trains were to be less friendly, people would be more aware of their surroundings while travelling too. If people were afraid (those who have to be so) of being checked by the police, they would avoid taking the trains and reduce their unwanted mobility. I'm far more aware of conversations on the aisles of an aiport near my departure longue than, say, in an Italian sanbeach in Sicilia. After all, I don't want to be trapped at 14.000m with someone who decide his time for martydom (and mine) has come, or anything like else, so I'm eager to help police authorities if I ever see or hear anything suspect in an airport.
Right, so you'll never see people trafficking humans in lorries. Do you not realise how many human traffickers British customs stop every day, nearly all of which are actually lorries rather than trains/public transport vehicles.

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It is hard to make the case that it is a good thing that drug dealers have almost unlimited mobility in our trains, for instance - Just twice I've seen a sniffing dog squad in stations or inside trains in my errands on high-speed lines in Europe, while in airports they are pretty common. Ostensibly armed guards are rare on train stations too.
But it's fine that drug dealers have unlimited mobility on our roads? I'm really sorry, Suburbanist, but you seem to have it in your head that criminals will only ever use public transport to further their nefarious and dastardly plans to make the world a less safe place. You didn't address any of the examples I offered before where private transport vehicles were used to transport enormous bombs of great destructive power (the 1300kg Manchester bomb was the largest piece of ordinance to explode in Britain since World War II). Can you imagine any "terrorist" managing to lug 1.3 metric tonnes of explosives onto a train?

You advocate making travel by public transport more and more difficult yet promote "freedom of movement" when it comes to roads and private transport. The dichotomy isn't lost on me as it seems you ignore the fact that every person can get into a car and use it for whatever purpose they choose, completely unregulated, unchecked and almost impossible to trace. They can place that car in the heart of a city with a dirty bomb inside it and, like in the Manchester bombing case, quite easily take out tens of thousands of people.

Your arguments are not about making things safer for everyone, they're simply about making travel by trains and public transport in general more difficult for everyone.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #47
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Can anybody explain the rationale to using concrete sleepers/crossties atop a concrete trackbed?
Why not bolt/clip the rails to the trackbed?
How is using concrete sleepers atop the concrete trackbed safer? I'm noticing this deployment more and more lately
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Old September 30th, 2011, 10:43 PM   #48
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That certainly looks strange. In Chicago the tracks are bolted straight to the concrete bed (within subway tunnels)
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Old September 30th, 2011, 11:32 PM   #49
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And that would look very strange to me! I'm thinking about vibration, flexibility, of the rails themself, they expand when heated, reverse when cooled, there must be some strong arguments here!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 01:05 AM   #50
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"Strong arguments" makes me think of project managers' strong-arm ploys...

In addition, do any of you think beaming cellular waves throughout an entirely-underground metro network lined with concrete is safe? I don't.
Montreal métro system to get cellphone network by 2013

Rogers, Telus, Vidéotron and Bell team up; Wi-Fi might come later
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Old October 6th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #51
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Can anybody explain the rationale to using concrete sleepers/crossties atop a concrete trackbed?
Why not bolt/clip the rails to the trackbed?
How is using concrete sleepers atop the concrete trackbed safer? I'm noticing this deployment more and more lately
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 07:40 AM   #52
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"Strong arguments" makes me think of project managers' strong-arm ploys...

In addition, do any of you think beaming cellular waves throughout an entirely-underground metro network lined with concrete is safe? I don't.
why?
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 08:25 PM   #53
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do you?
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Old February 18th, 2012, 01:51 AM   #54
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Sad, having to staff busses with guards:

0'35": "... Even the security guard couldn't hang on. ..."
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Old February 19th, 2012, 09:28 AM   #55
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I agree that Public transport in general is relatively safe..................probably except for Moscow atm.

Seriously, there have been at least four incidents of terrorists bombings in the Moscow Metro (mostly by extremists from Chechnya). The last one was in 2010 I think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Moscow_Metro_bombings

It has happened many times in the past so why did it occur again in 2010? Don't they have their police, FSB and KGB? What are they doing?

IMHO, if safety and security officials in Moscow were doing their job well, that 2010 terrorist incident in Moscow Metro SHOULD NOT have happened in the first place. Otherwise, those 40 people who have died would still be living to this day.......
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Old May 12th, 2012, 08:32 PM   #56
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Isn't this more a case of mischief than terrorising?
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Old September 1st, 2013, 10:45 PM   #57
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Sad, coz that city was known overall for having a big heart.
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