A large crane lowered a retired Blue Line subway car into the MBTA’s underground Emergency Training Center this morning, where, officials say, first responders will eventually undergo training in realistic conditions for emergencies on subway, trolley cars, and buses.
“I think it’s important to continue to invest in the safety of our customers and our employees,” said Jonathan Davis, MBTA general manager. “We do not currently have a facility such as this.”
The goal of the center, which is located in an abandoned subway facility next to Broadway Station, is to “significantly enhance the ability of public safety personnel to prepare and respond to emergencies within the MBTA system,” MBTA officials said in a statement.
The three-phase project will be finished in the spring.
Davis said the state-of-the-art facility will be available to MBTA personnel and first responders within the community.
“I think it will be used quite often,” he said.
Lowering the car today is the part of the second step in the $8.8 million project. Another Blue Line car was already in place. The training center will eventually also include a Green Line trolley, a bus, and several classrooms, Davis said.
He said that in the past, training exercises were conducted on active train and bus routes.
“We used to have to curtail service while those exercises were being done,” Davis said. “Now we no longer have to do that.”
The Green Line trolley and bus will be delivered later this fall, said Joseph Pesaturo, MBTA spokesman.
The bus will be used “to replicate the Silver Line, but the training will be beneficial for responses to incidents that may occur on any bus – above or beneath the earth’s surface,” Pesaturo said.
The first step of the project, which included water mitigation and structural repairs to the underground facility, has been completed.
The third and final step is making sure the training center meets safety standards and fire codes. That step will be completed in the spring, Davis said.
Davis said the project is funded by the US Department of Homeland Security and noted that it is important that MBTA officials make financially responsible decisions with the Authority’s budget.
“None of it is coming from the MBTA,” he said.
MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan visited the facility with Davis at 2 p.m. today.