Chicago Commuters Still in Dark About NATO Security

Secret Service still has not announced security procedures for Amtrak, Metra and South Shore trains


With the NATO Summit less than two weeks away, commuters and even some transit officials are finding it hard to hide their frustration over a McCormick Place security plan which has yet to be finalized.

Dozens of Amtrak, Metra and South Shore trains run beneath the sprawling convention center. But as of Tuesday, the Secret Service still had not announced security procedures designed to prevent terrorist acts as world leaders meet in the buildings above.

“We’re waiting to hear what their requirements are going to be to our service,” said John Parsons, a spokesman for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), who said his agency, which operates South Shore trains, has not even been told what type of security to expect.

Parsons said NICTD is anxious to pass procedures along to the commuters who ride nearly 40 trains a day beneath McCormick Place.

“We don’t know if it’s passive security or very active like at an airport,” Parsons said, noting that NICTD is hardly equipped to do airport-type security.

“We do not have the personnel,” he said. 

There have been hints but no confirmation that the Transportation Security Administration would be enlisted to provide security. How it would work and how passengers would be screened has not been evident.

Officials at Amtrak have indicated they plan to utilize their own security personnel. Metra says it is not prepared to announce procedures, but hopes to have a plan in place by week’s end.

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