VIDEO: MBTA film goes underground, after hours

By night, the MBTA tunnel system is necessarily rid of passengers for repairs and upkeep.

While most people are asleep in bed, MBTA workers scout the transit system like night owls making sure everything is in safe, working order for the morning commute.

And they only have a small window of time to get it all done.

A new documentary set for release this week highlights the operations of MBTA employees who work odd hours ensuring the T runs as smoothly as possible for millions of transit riders each day.

The mini-movie, “Boston Under: After Hours,” follows workers around from 1:30 a.m. until 5 a.m., over the span of several months, while they conduct emergency maintenance work and tend to track repairs.

“I’m amazed some days when I see what they accomplish in such a short window of time,” said Pat Kineavy, director of physical infrastructure and maintenance. “No matter how long I’ve done it, I still go out there and get chills watching them work.”

Kineavy is featured in the 44-minute documentary, which delves into the depths of the tunnels, explores the troubles on the tracks and introduces riders to the faces behind the late-night fixes.
“At the end of the night, [the work] is done, the lights go on and no one pays attention to it,” said Kineavy. “But all of the crews are very connected. … It’s that sense of accomplishment and camaraderie, working together when the clock is ticking.”

While diligence plays a major role during work hours, Kineavy said safety is the T’s top priority.
“Safety is number one, and giving service back to the public,” he said.

Riders can watch the documentary on YouTube and on the T’s website.

The film was produced by the MBTA and volunteers from the media department at the Department of Revenue. It took eight months to finish the project at no cost to the T.

It’s the T’s turn to talk

Riders constantly air their grievances when it comes to the T, but now it’s going both ways: A portion of the film lets MBTA workers vent about things passengers do that are frustrating or unsafe.

People walking too close to the Green Line tracks, cars cutting in front of above-ground trains, riders over-packing doorways and intoxicated persons acting aloof underground were just some of the annoyances discussed in the documentary. 

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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