CTA, LIRR launch rail safety campaigns

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

As part of its continuing focus on customer safety, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has launched a new informational campaign reminding "L" riders about the dangers of trespassing on CTA railroad tracks.


The campaign, featuring the tagline “Stay Off the Tracks, It’s Not Worth Your Life,” features a series of messages highlighting the dangers of activities, such as trying to retrieve items dropped onto the tracks, standing too close to the edge of a platform or trespassing along the railroad right of way.

“Safety has always been and will always be our No. 1 priority, in every facet of our operations,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “We created the campaign as an important reminder to our customers and we believe it will help further promote safe behavior on our rail system.”

The CTA has long had a very strong safety record related to rail service. In 2012, the CTA provided more than 230 million rail rides, with 11 fatalities reported resulting from customers on the tracks. In 2011, there were 221 million rail riders and nine fatalities. Since 2009, there have been between six and 12 rail-related fatalities annually, many of which involve intentional acts by customers.

“Though the number of fatal incidents on the CTA is extremely low, one incident is one too many,” Claypool said. “We continue to work to ensure the safest system possible and to both remind and encourage our customers to take simple steps to keep themselves safe.”

This latest campaign complements CTA’s existing rail safety information, including signs along the tracks, at every rail station and in every rail car, as well as safety brochures, website information and other materials.

The new safety campaign’s car cards and posters will appear on rail cars and at rail stations throughout the CTA system and will also be used on digital signs at stations.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) has launched a new public safety campaign, as well, in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that result when motorists and pedestrians ignore downed railroad crossing gates.

“It only takes a fraction of a second to make a very bad decision,” intones the narrator over a graphic 15-second public service video commercial that shows a car being driven around a downed crossing gate only to be pulverized by an oncoming LIRR train. “Your life is worth the wait.”

In a second spot ending with the same crash scene, the voiceover is: “Cars can stop on dime, Trains can’t. At 60 miles per hour, it takes up to a mile for an engineer to bring his train to a complete halt. Please wait for the gate.”

The locales shown and the passing trains are real. The cars and the collisions seen are computer-generated. However, the final startling image of a wrecked auto and a damaged LIRR train is the real aftermath of a train versus car incident. The occupants of the car were killed. The engineer was able to vacate his damaged cab just before it was engulfed in fire. That same photograph is the image being used for the campaign.

“It is the story of life and death in 15 seconds,” said LIRR President Helena Williams. “Sadly, it’s a scene that plays out too often. The safety of our customers, our employees and everyone who transverses our right of way is always our top priority. We have addressed the crossing gate problem in public service announcements time and again over the years and felt it was time to raise our voice once more”

Williams said the railroad’s “Wait for the Gate” campaign will include television, radio and print advertising targeting Long Islanders, especially motorists, on News 12 Long Island, WCBS-880, Metro Traffic & Weather, two local weekly newspaper chains and six outdoor billboard locations near LIRR stations. The Railroad’s Department of Customer Service and Public Affairs will also make use of all the available social media platforms, including MTA LIRR website and the LIRR’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages.


Categories: Commuter/Regional, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training