- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2004

CUMBERLAND — An Amtrak train on the way to Washington was stopped and searched yesterday in Western Maryland after a member of the U.S. military reported suspect activity by two men on board, officials said.

The two were questioned and released last night, Amtrak spokesman Dan Stessel said, with law-enforcement officials deeming them “no longer of interest.”

Mr. Stessel said the train’s 233 passengers, including the two men, were sent by bus to Washington late Sunday night. He said the train was sent later to Washington without passengers.

Barry Maddox, a spokesman with the FBI’s Baltimore field office, said members of the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force originally received a report of “suspicious males of Middle Eastern descent.”

Mr. Maddox said last night that the FBI was investigating, but “as of right now, we don’t have cause for alarm.”

Deputy State Fire Marshal W. Faron Taylor said U.S. military personnel on the train noticed “suspicious activity” from two men at about 11 a.m. Marshal Taylor said one of the men appeared to have an unknown object concealed beneath his clothing.

Passengers were ordered off the train, and the two men identified as acting suspiciously were detained by police, Marshal Taylor said. He said a bomb squad and dogs searched at least 12 of the train’s cars for about four hours and found no explosives.

“The train was deemed to be totally safe,” the marshal said.

The train stopped about 11:30 a.m. near Cumberland, where passengers waited on board for about an hour. They got off at a nearby train yard. At about 3:30 p.m., passengers were taken to a Cumberland Holiday Inn, where they waited for buses.

Tired and frustrated passengers trudged off buses at Union Station in the District late last night. Many had been traveling since the train left Chicago the night before.

“We missed our train to Florida,” said Kelly Gordon, 18, from Woodriver, Ill. “We don’t know what we are going to do.”

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