Georgia eyes train security with CSX partnership

A formal agreement was announced last week by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue between his administration and CSX Transportation to share information, resources and strategies to better protect the state’s rail infrastructure. The public-private partnership is one of seven such agreements, meant to develop better rail security policies.

In an announcement Friday, Gov. Perdue formalized an agreement with CSX Transportation (CSXT) where the state Emergency Management Agency-Office of Homeland Security (GEMA-OHS) will have access to CSXT’s web-based SecureNOW System. CSXT’s Network Operations Workstation (NOW) System monitors the location and contents of CSXT trains in near real-time. The Georgia partnership will allow state and local public safety and law enforcement officials to access the secure portal – a capability Gov. Perdue calls “critical.”

“Ensuring that our freight rail system is secure is critical in working towards a safer Georgia,” Gov. Perdue said in a statement. “Today’s announcement establishes a public-private partnership that takes a great step toward providing greater protection to the citizens of this state.”

The SecureNOW System provides geospatial mashups, as well as raw data information so state officials can more efficiently allocate law enforcement resources, more easily coordinate with CSX security officials and integrate rail security into their pre-existing law enforcement operations. According to the company’s website, CSX has pilot programs in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, as well as the American Chemistry Council’s Chemtrec call response center and the Transportation Security Administration.

CSXT Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, David Brown, said, “We’re pleased to be the first railroad and among the first private industries to formalize security partnerships with the State of Georgia in order to jointly safeguard both the communities we serve, and our ability to move the goods so critical to the economy.”

Georgia officials also indicated the partnership would also include joint rail security training and preparedness exercises, in addition to providing 24-7 access to the SecureNOW System.

“We are excited to continue our tradition of working closely with CSXT on security issues of mutual concern in order to protect the citizens of our state, and the rail network that helps support the region’s economy,” GEMA Director Charley English said.