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Portable x-ray equipment for London Underground and National Railway

UK Government announces deployment of new x-ray search technology

Tom Harris, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport today (26 June 2008) reported that, as a result of screening trials and in response to the continuing terrorist threat to the rail network, British Transport Police (BTP) is introducing enhancements to its current screening capability. This includes x-ray equipment and explosive detection dogs capable of screening moving passengers. 

These enhancements build on the BTP’s existing measures to screen a proportion of passengers and their bags, with minimal delay.

The revolutionary mobile x-ray system being used has been developed by 3DX-RAY in collaboration with BTP. Based around the company’s portable TPXi-Flatscan digital x-ray system, it offers both speed and the clearest images available on any system of its type. Portable baggage scanners are initially being deployed in London, making it the first city in the world to protect its bus and rail commuters with airport-baggage scanner style technology.

The new equipment provides a full range of x-ray imaging options – not only can it detect components down to the millimetre scale but it can differentiate materials such as plastic explosives and metals used in guns, knives and other threats.

BTP Superintendent Phil Trendall said: “The public recognise the threat to the rail network, and are broadly supportive of the need for security measures. A 100 per cent airport-style screening is not possible on the rail network due the sheer volume of passengers on the network and the delays such extensive screening would have. However, with the use of these x-ray machines and new additional specialist trained search dogs, we are able to screen passengers in a manner that is proportionate to the ongoing security risk, and with minimal disruption to their journey.

Nick Fox, Managing Director of 3DX-RAY commented “Using our technology to create a portable baggage scanner offers our security forces a substantial edge. Both UK and US Governments recently carried out scanner trials at major railway stations but they proved easy to avoid. Potential terrorists simply avoided the screening by finding a different exit or using another station. These mobile scanners can be set up very quickly without warning. Consequently terrorists will no longer be able to plan ways to avoid them.