Airport-style security mooted for European rail

The prospect of airport-style security screening for European rail passengers is being raised following the failed terrorist attack on a French train.

Train operators could be obliged to introduce surveillance cameras in every carriage and stations instructed to install scanners for passengers boarding high-speed trains, under options being discussed following the foiled attack.

The attack on a Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris was foiled by passengers who disarmed a man carrying a rifle and handgun in Arras on Friday.

A committee of transport security experts, including from the UK Home Office and Department for Transport, will meet in Brussels on September 11 to discuss how to respond to the attack, and ask whether boarding a high-speed train should be more like getting on an aircraft, the Telegraph reported.

Their proposals will be discussed by EU transport ministers in October. Legislation would require support from the European Parliament and member states. Sources said the intention is for new rules to cover all 28 states, including Britain.

Britain is regarded as one of the keenest supporters of greater transport security in Europe, with prime minister David Cameron pushing for the sharing of passenger data, known as PNR.

EU sources says there are no proposals to collect and share such data on rail travellers with police Europe-wide, although some European rail companies, including Thalys, do collect PNR.

Discussions are at an early stage and no concrete proposals have been drafted, but a source familiar with the committee’s work said it would examine the case for screening passengers and their luggage – either “systematically” or in random spot-checks, the newspaper reported.

That could include using advanced body-scanners used to detect plastic explosives, as well as metal detectors to find guns.

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