Journal of Transportation Security

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 271–286 | Cite as

Rail bound traffic—a prime target for contemporary terrorist attacks?

  • Veronica Strandberg


The threat of terrorism is a worldwide concern, often discussed in the context of our constantly changing world with new complex threats, risks and crises. This article focuses on terrorist attacks targeting rail bound traffic because of its extreme vulnerability for terrorist attacks. The article provides an empirical overview of the frequency and characteristics of attacks on rail bound traffic. At least in recent years, attacks have been a growing phenomenon. The results are interpreted through the lens of a contemporary terrorism paradigm which revolves around in which way which terrorist organizations organize their activity and if there is an increased religiously motivated terrorism and a presumed shift towards more indiscriminate killing through the use of new tactics and weapons. This article identifies the 20 biggest large-scale attacks on rail bound traffic, and they do resemble contemporary terrorism.


Rail bound traffic Terrorism Mass-casualty attacks Security 



Financial support for this work was received from the Section of Disaster Medicine, The National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm and the Department of Political Science, Umeå University, Umeå.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Centre for Research and Development in Disaster Medicine, Department of SurgeryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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