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The Test Site Train

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The Test Site Train

by Tom Mahood, October, 1995


This information is third-hand and its reliability is unknown. It comes from a distant family friend who worked with and was close friends with an individual who claims to have worked in/near Area 51 in the late 1970s through early 1980s as an electrical technician. After hearing the story, I delicately approached the individual directly for more details, but was rebuffed and told “I was too high profile”, whatever that means. I also sensed the individual was upset the story was passed on as a breach of confidence between friends.


Pretty much what follows is all I know. If there are details that are missing, it’s because they weren’t told to me.

The individual was hired by a major firm (name unknown) in the late 1970s as an electrical technician. The person thought it was to be a routine job, but ended up going into a secret program. The worker lived in Parhump, Nevada, and drove in daily to the town of Mercury on the Nevada Test Site. There, the worker, along with others, got into a bus with blacked out windows and left Mercury.

After an undisclosed amount of time, the bus arrived at a “train station”, presumably someplace on the Test Site. It was described as a typical station, with rails and platforms. It was not mentioned whether it was above or below ground. Next, the worker got on the “train” (apparently your typical BART/METRO type of subway vehicle) and traveled underground for another undisclosed period of time to the facility the worker was employed at.

The only clues to the whereabouts of the facility was that it was UNDER a dry lake. Just which one was never related. The facility was quite large and the worker’s job was to maintain wiring in the tunnels. Exactly what was being done at the facility, or its purpose, was also never told.

The worker was there until the early 1980s (1981 I think, but am not certain) when there was an accident. Something was accidentally released, perhaps chemical, perhaps radiation, and about 70 people were exposed. About 1/3 recovered with no problems. Another 1/3 died. The final 1/3 “disappeared” and were not seen again. Just what “disappeared” meant was never made clear.

In any event, the worker knew several of the people who died or disappeared and was so upset, the worker submitted a resignation. There was great pressure applied by management to withdraw the resignation, but the worker was quite firm. The worker relocated to Colorado, and for about 6 months was followed by unmarked vehicles. Then, one day, the surveillance just stopped.


Taken by itself, it’s just another amusing story to be filed away for future corroboration. There would certainly be problems explaining just how a facility of that magnitude could be constructed, operated and maintained without more people knowing about it.

However….Sometime after hearing the story and discussing it with a few discrete individuals, a second story, partially confirming the first surfaced. Another person, geographically far separate and of apparently no connection to the first, told of working at NTS in the mid or late 1980s.

This second person told virtually the identical transportation story. However this individual got off at what was described as an “underground SDI research facility”. But he said the train continued on, to where he did not know.


In discussing the story with someone who had some experience in the nuclear device tunnels at the Test Site, a possible explanation was offered. This person suggested the “underground train” could simply be a distortion (after retellings) of the trains used to move workers and goods in the tunnels in the Rainier Mesa area. I’ve toured these facilities and none are remotely like a BART train, but it is a possibility. Some of the tunnels go in for over a mile. The worker also pointed out that most, if not all, of the busses used to ferry workers around the Test Site have very dark desert tint windows. Again, and aspect of the story (the blacked out windows) that could have been distorted through retellings. . While these are attractive rationalizations, the element of the story having the facility under a dry lake bed (as well as the casualties) remains unexplained.

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