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First Published - 04/05/2021 - 5:27PM

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Metra Safety Poster and Essay Contest

Metra 2021-2022 Safety Contest Update

Spring has finally sprung in Chicago, vaccines are rolling out, and we have been living through this pandemic for an entire year. As schools reopen, we here at Metra are reimagining our safety education programs to transform learning opportunities for students and teachers alike.

As we communicated in September, we canceled the 2020-21 contest due to the added burdens imposed by remote learning. So, we’re taking this time to review the contest and improve prizes, communication with you, and involvement with safety programs like Operation Lifesaver. The 2021-22 contest, which will debut this fall, will reflect these changes.

If you have any suggestions or comments regarding changes you’d like to see in the next version of the contest, please send them to us at, and we’ll take them into consideration. We can’t promise to adopt every suggestion, but our goal is to renew the contest in ways that are equitable and engaging for all students across the Chicago region.

As the weather warms up, the city begins to reopen and some of us are returning to our daily commutes, it’s essential to remember to always be vigilant and  aware of your surroundings near railroad tracks, platforms, and crossings. Spring and summer bring all of us outside to enjoy fresh air and sunshine, but it is also a time when we at Metra see an uptick in people using railroad tracks as a walking path or a shortcut. Please remind your students and loved ones that the tracks are never a safe pathway.

We remain dedicated to the students, riders, and all who interact with the railroad by empowering you to make safer choices near railroad tracks and trains. Also, we want as many students as possible to participate in our contest and be exposed to rail safety information, and we encourage you to make rail safety and the Metra Safety Contest a school-wide project.

Please be sure to follow the Metra Contest social channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check this page for contest news, safety information, and classroom materials.
Questions? Email us at


Metra 2020-2021 Safety Poster and Essay Contest Suspended


Metra's 2019-2020 Safety Contest Winners Announced!





For the 14th straight year, Metra asked the region's students to illustrate through posters or essays the importance of safe behaviors near railroad tracks and rail crossings. The theme for the 2019-2020 school year: “Obey the Signs" emphasized the importance of looking for and obeying signs and control devices that are installed along the railroad tracks and at rail crossings.

The contest was open to all students in grades K through 12 living or attending school in Metra’s six-county service area: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.

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. Each one of these incidents was completely preventable. That's why Metra feels 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.

The Safety Poster Contest is a key part of these ongoing efforts to increase public awareness. Through the contest, we're asking students to take on an advocacy role  and create an image that clearly communicates the importance of safety near the tracks. One first-, second- and third-place winner was selected from each grade, K through 12, and awarded the following prizes:

First Place: iPad
Second Place: $250 gift card
Third Place: $100 gift card

The winning designs can be found here and will be featured in Metra’s 2021 safety calendar, website, station displays and on weekend passes.

Students were also encouraged to enter the  Metra Safety Essay Contest. Contest participants are asked to describe in 300 words or less why it's important to “Obey the Signs" when near trains and railroad tracks.  A first place prize was awarded in each of the essay contest's three divisions: Grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 with each winner receiving an iPad.

Metra wants as many students as possible to participate and be exposed to rail safety information and encourage schools to make rail safety a school-wide project. Metra recognized the school that submitted the most entries in the 2019-2020 Safety Poster Contest by awarding it a new computer compatible with the school’s current system.

Exclusive news and announcements are also available on the Metra contest Facebook page 

In the tabs on the left side of this page, you can see the work of past contest winners, news coverage about the contest, review Contest Rules, and find out how to submit your entry. Teachers will also find useful information under the tab marked Classroom Materials: fact sheets, coloring pages and bulletin board displays to help them integrate railroad safety messages into their lesson plans. In addition, the site includes games and information sheets designed for parents and driver education instructors.





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