Summertime is the favorite of many people to get out and see the sights, whether local or long-distance. For those who choose to head out of town this season, there are different ways to get there. For some, the hassle dealing with the TSA has made travel incredibly cumbersome; in fact, Time magazine reported in May that over 70, 000 people missed flights this year due to security. To avoid this, the logical option is to travel by bus, train, or by driving a car. However, all methods of travel are not equal, and it really shows when it comes to security measures.

The safest option is probably driving because there is less exposure to the general public, but the time spent getting there can take its toll. Another popular option is by rail. Amtrak offers service all over the country, and though it takes longer to arrive at your destination, there are amenities such as sleeping cars and dining areas to make the trip more enjoyable. There is definitely something to be said for the extra leg room that is lacking on most commercial flights these days. The other thing that is noticeably missing is the security measures which are drastically different from those of airlines.

No Security Check Before Boarding

Amtrak offers a list of prohibited items which are not allowed onboard the train. This list includes items like martial arts weaponry, archery equipment, batteries with acid that may spill or leak, incendiaries, and sharp objects like swords and axes. Other forbidden items include bicycles over a certain size, household goods like antiques and appliances, and hoverboards. What is allowed on the train, with noted restrictions, are firearms; though carry-on is prohibited.

Although the idea that guns are not allowed on board is a little more comforting, the real problem is that security is so lax that it would not be difficult to smuggle a gun on board without anyone’s knowledge. Bomb-sniffing dogs are deployed in some stations, but this past Independence Day at Union Station in Washington D.C. had very few, if any, present. Even more disturbing was the fact that the tickets clearly state that I.D. must be shown to the conductors, but that is not enforced, either.

The rails are pure joy, but there is an imminent risk involved. If you are planning to take a train this year, take these points into consideration. It might just save your life.