MBTA leaders tour future emergency training center in South Boston

Rendering of the unused train tunnel and station that will soon be fully converted into a training facility for MBTA employees and first responders.

Wearing a hard hat and a yellow reflective vest today, MBTA acting General Manager Jonathan Davis stood alongside construction workers at an eerie underground construction site on Foundry Street in South Boston, which in a few months will be a fully functioning training center meant to better prepare T workers and first responders for emergencies.

“I think this is a great example of our continued investment in the safety of our customers and the safety of our employees,” Davis said of the $8.8 million project.

Davis was there to tour the site along with Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, who said once the training center opens in the spring, it will be used on a daily basis – a far cry from the frequency of emergency training now.

“Currently we can not perform drills and exercises without shutting down the MBTA for a portion of time,” MacMillan said, adding that typically happens on Sunday mornings, a time considered to be less inconvenient for T customers.

“This will allow us to conduct drills and exercises throughout the week with all first responders,” MacMillan said.

MBTA Transit Police, Boston Fire, Boston EMS, Somerville Police, Cambridge Police and Cambridge Fire departments will all use the facility, MacMillan said.

“All of the first responders who may come to an event in our subway system will be using this facility to train in the environment that they respond to,” MacMillan said.

Some of the drills that will be undertaken include fires, derailments and other situations where passengers would have to be evacuated, such as bio-terror.

“We would expect that not to happen, but we are in the transportation business, so occasionally we do have events that take place that require us to respond to those particular circumstances,” Davis said.

“We want to make sure our employees and the first responders are well-trained to make sure that our customers remain safe and our employees remain safe”

This morning, a crane hefted a retired Blue Line car into the dark tunnel, which is currently a long stretch of dust and construction equipment.

The tunnel is about 100 years old, Davis said, and went out of use around 1920.

“It had been, really, not used since the 1920s, and we felt that it would be a great opportunity (for the MBTA),” Davis said.

MacMillan said more retired vehicles will be brought into the center to help replicate emergency situations for trainees.

The multimillion-dollar project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and various local, state and federal emergency response agencies, including the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, Executive Office of Safety and Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to MBTA officials.

“I think its important to note that in spite of our financial difficulties we continue to invest in safety,” Davis said. “Safety is our number one priority.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.