Metra hosted a special Safety Train excursion June 3 to commemorate National Safety Month and highlight the numerous ways that Metra strives to operate the safest possible railroad for its customers, employees, local schoolchildren and the public.
The train operated along the Milwaukee North Line from Chicago Union Station to Grayslake. Metra officials were joined by Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-IL-3) and train accident survivor Mark Kalina, Jr., as well as representatives from the Regional Transportation Authority, Amtrak, Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific and local governments. Those in attendance listened to a short presentation about Metra’s safety culture and safety initiatives and learned about challenges and capital projects specific to the Milwaukee North Line.
“As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I’ve heard firsthand about the challenges Metra faces in maintaining a state of good repair on its system,” Rep. Arroyo said. “I give them credit for making every dollar count toward improving their infrastructure, while never compromising on safety.”
Participants learned about the challenges of implementing positive train control (PTC). The most recent cost estimate for Metra to implement PTC is between $350 million and $400 million.
“Metra provides critical transportation to the residents of Lake County and we value their efforts to keep the trains running on-time, the stations clean and most importantly, keep their passengers safe,” said Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who met the safety train for a stop in Grayslake. “I can certainly understand why Metra has been honored for its safety efforts for four straight years by the Association of American Railroads and I want to thank them for the safe and reliable service they provide.”
“To put it simply, safety is our No. 1 priority – it is deeply ingrained in the Metra culture and it influences everything we do,” said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. “In fact, we can credibly say that every train we operate is a safety train.”