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Amtrak ramps up security

But you can still get blown to bits in Charlotte and the rest of the South

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Last week, Amtrak announced plans to beef up security on their trains. But will Charlotte be any safer?

It doesn't look that way. Shortly after the new security measures were announced, Creative Loafing sent a reporter to the Tryon Street train station to see if signs of the beefed-up security were there.

There were no screeners. As a matter of fact, the most watchful eye CL spotted was a passenger sleeping on a wooden bench inside the station.

Unfortunately, it appears that Amtrak isn't quite that concerned about safety in the Southeast. The Associated Press reported the security measures, which could include automatic weapon-toting guards and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling the platforms and trains, will begin in the highly traveled Northeast corridor between Washington, D.C., and Boston.

So if you plan on blowing up a train, you're going to need to get your contraband on the train before getting to D.C.

This increase in security is a somewhat delayed response to the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and bombings in London, India and Russia.

Amtrak says that the Northeast corridor was chosen because it's the most traveled route in the country.

"Random inspections and armed special agent patrols are a prudent and necessary security enhancement and are similar to programs in New York, Boston, Madrid and London," William Rooney, Amtrak vice president, Security Strategy and Special Operations, says in a release from the rail.

Passengers will have the right to say no to the screens, but Amtrak says they'll get a refund, not a ride.

There's no word if law enforcement will, uh, get involved with those passengers. A spokeswoman with Amtrak didn't answer our request for comment.

No word, either, on whether passengers will have to leave the homemade travel food at home.

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