Amtrak and Maryland Rail Commuter passengers boarding at the New Carrollton train station were screened for explosives Tuesday as part of a pilot project launched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to make rail travel safer.
During the one-month test, passengers will be asked to placing bags and carry-on items on a conveyor belt for screening.
Passengers will then walk through a "puffer" machine that blows small puffs of air onto a passenger to detect residue from explosives.
Any passenger who sets off the machine will be taken aside and patted down, and would be subject to arrest by Amtrak police if any explosive device is found, the TSA said.
The program was developed to determine if the equipment works and how much it would bog travelers down, said Asa Hutchinson, U.S. undersecretary for border and transportation security.
The TSA will begin screening baggage that passengers store at Union Station in Washington, D.C. and will start using detection equipment in July to check passengers on trains for explosives, said the Associated Press.