Officials from the MBTA are transforming an unused train tunnel and station into a training facility to teach emergency responders how to better handle crises underground.
The Emergency Training Center will enhance the ability of Transit police officers to prepare and respond to situations that pose a threat to the commuting public.
“We have been talking about it for a long time, and to be able to take the unused facility and turn it into something that will be very helpful to our customers and responders is exciting,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan.
Using grant money from the Department of Homeland Security, the facility will turn the Oak Street railway into a “mock” train station to carry out drills.
It will also be accessible to emergency responders from all surrounding cities and towns, said MacMillan.
Inside the center will be two Blue Line train cars and one Green Line trolley so trainees can conduct the simulated emergency scenarios as if they were happening at actual stations.
Two conference rooms inside the new building will be used for debriefing after training sessions to better educate safety personnel.
“We have an obligation to make sure everyone is as well-trained as possible,” said MacMillan.
MacMillan said T police currently have to disrupt services at Bowdoin station on Sundays if they want to conduct mock drills.
“With this training facility, we can just set up a schedule day or night to do mock scenarios and the like,” he said.
Officials from the T anticipate the completion of the tactical center by spring of 2013.
At a T meeting last week officials approved Phase 1 of the project to address water leaks and structural repairs. The second phase will include the delivery of the vehicles to the facility and Phase 3 will build out the center.
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