Freight Rail Security: Actions Have Been Taken to Enhance Security, but the Federal Strategy Can Be Strengthened and Security Efforts Better Monitored, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 2MB]
"An attack on the U.S. freight rail system could be catastrophic because rail cars carrying highly toxic materials often traverse densely populated urban areas. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the federal entity primarily responsible for securing freight rail. GAO was asked to assess the status of efforts to secure this system. This report discusses stakeholder efforts to assess risks to the freight rail system and TSA's development of a risk-based security strategy, actions stakeholders have taken to secure the system since 2001, TSA's efforts to monitor and assess their effectiveness, and any challenges to implementing future actions, and the extent to which stakeholders have coordinated efforts. GAO reviewed documents, including TSA's freight rail strategic plan; conducted site visits to seven U.S. cities with significant rail operations involving hazardous materials; and interviewed federal and industry officials. Among other things, GAO recommends that TSA reflect all security threats in strategy, strengthen its performance measures, better assess and track actions being taken, and more closely work with some federal stakeholders. DHS generally concurs with our recommendations and has initiated action on some; however, these actions will not fully address all of the recommendations."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/