MBTA Unveils New Underground Police Training Facility

Officers will be able to conduct life-like operations and emergency response drills on actual train cars.

Photo via MBTA

Photo via MBTA

Perhaps the best part about the MBTA’s new underground training facility, a state-of-the-art transportation lair that lets police and fire officials hone their emergency response skills, is there will be no more delays along the T’s tracks due to above-ground drills.

That, and the fact that Transit Police and first responders from all over the state will be better prepared for any type of real-life, train-related scenario.

On Wednesday, MBTA officials cut the ribbon on the new facility, a multi-million dollar project funded by the Department of Homeland Security housed below street level in South Boston.

Inside the training center are actual MBTA trains and buses, offering officers a chance to play out what it would be like to get on the tracks in case of a fire, rescue a passenger that may be on board a vehicle, or respond to faulty wires overhead—a problem that often plagues the T’s Green Line. “A lot of our training exercises cause disruptions to our passengers. Generally speaking, we have to do exercises where we have to stop service momentarily. So this will lessen the disruptions that our passengers face because of emergency training,” says MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan.

Inside the facility, MacMillan says there is an actual Blue Line train, Green Line train, and bus, each of which can be used for the emergency operation drills. Each vehicle sits in a tunnel that was created to look like a stop along the MBTA’s transit system, so officers in training can get a feel for the environment in case of  a potential accident or needed response.

“Primarily the users will be Boston Fire Department to come down and train firefighters relative to power and safety on the MBTA, which they face when they come into the system, including the third rail and the overhead wires,” he says, adding that other agencies from around Massachusetts will also be allowed to utilize the underground facility. “We think this is going to be very effective in providing training for first responders in the region. On a day-to-day basis we rely on them to assist us with incidents on the MBTA, and it will give them hands on training to make it safer and more effective.”

MacMillan expects the first training seminars won’t begin for a another two weeks.