BOSTON (CBS) – There’s an unmarked door connecting the old with the new at the MBTA Broadway Red Line Station in South Boston.
On one side is the new $10 million MBTA Emergency Training Center that had its official opening on June 12. On the other side is one of the transit authority’s oldest subway stations at the Broadway stop.
The center is the first of its kind in the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Administrator John Pistole came up from Washington, but the head of the TSA would not grant any interviews.
The TSA funded the project which has been under development for over five years.
Also on hand for the official ribbon cutting were MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott and Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin. MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan acted as MC during a brief speaking program that was followed by a tour of the new underground facility.
Although listed as attending in the media advisory, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and a high-ranking Boston Fire Department official were not present.
The Training center makes use of old trolley tracks in a tunnel that were closed in 1919, by what was then the Boston Elevated Railway.
Damaged and now fully restored Green Line car, Blue Line subway car and a bus are position in place in a station setting. Beside these three vehicles are classrooms with high technology equipment for review of training for first responders from all over Massachusetts.
Simulated explosions, crowd noises and smoke make training for evacuation of passengers in an incident very real.
The only other similar training site in Boston is at Logan Airport where a house has been designed for firefighters to train under real conditions.
About 10 years ago, I went through a drill in the smoke house complete with raincoat, hat and air tank. A Massport fireman was in front of me and behind me and you could see absolutely nothing once smoke was piped in. You were also doused with water from a hose as you came down the stairs.
Coordinated training of this type is essential for emergencies of all kinds in our transportation system.
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