Metra joins a national effort to raise awareness and stress the importance of safe behavior near the railroad tracks, as the U.S and Canada observe Rail Safety Week in North America, Sept. 22-28. Throughout the week, Metra and its rail and law enforcement partners will be distributing rail safety information and conducting rail crossing enforcements at rail stations throughout the six-county region.
“Metra has a long history of being extremely active in railroad safety education efforts through its participation in Operation Lifesaver,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “It’s so important to reach out and educate people, especially our children, about how to be smart and stay safe around the railroad tracks and rail crossings found throughout our region.”
In 2018 alone, 819 people were injured, and 271 people lost their lives in the U.S. in collisions at railroad crossings, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In Illinois, 26 people died in 2018 when they were struck by trains while trespassing on railroad property and 17 people died in 2018 when they were struck by trains at a highway-rail crossing.
As part of this week-long campaign, Metra will release a PSA showing the consequences of distracted driving near railroad tracks. In addition, Metra will host events throughout the week including: the 14th Annual Safety Poster and Essay Contest Kickoff; an expansion of the “No Trespasser” signage program, to be placed along the right-of-way on all Metra owned lines; a night with the Chicago White Sox; and to highlight the importance of rail safety with the public Metra will perform station safety blitzes and conduct police enforcement details at various railroad crossings throughout the six-county region.
Metra will also be working with the Illinois Chiefs of Police (ILACP), Canadian National Railway (CN), Union Pacific Railroad (UP), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), SafeKids Worldwide (with Clifford the Big Red Dog), and Operation Lifesaver to raise awareness about rail safety in our communities.