Metra's Board of Directors along with agency officials sent the Metra Safety Train on an excursion to "highlight the numerous ways that Metra strives to operate the safest possible railroad for its customers, employees, local schoolchildren and the public."
The special train operated along the Milwaukee District West Line from Chicago Union Station to Elgin. Metra officials were joined by Illinois State Senator Tom Cullerton, State Representative Marcus Evans, Elgin Mayor David Kaptain and Park Ridge Deputy Police Chief Lou Jogmen, who also serves as the chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee for the Illinois State Police.
“To put it simply, safety is our number one priority – it is deeply ingrained in the Metra culture and it influences everything we do,” said Metra Executive Director and CEO Don Orseno. “The safety train is an example of the outreach we do to promote a better understanding of all the effort that goes into providing our customers with the safest service at all times.”
For attendees, Metra gave a short presentation about safety culture and initiatives. Attendees also learned about the challenges and capital projects specific to the Milwaukee District West Line. Metra introduced Positive Train Control to the attendees, explaining how the technology works. The most recent cost estimate for Metra to implement PTC is between $350 million and $400 million.
Safety train participants also heard about Metra’s Safety Poster and Essay Contest, now finishing its 11th year. The contest asks schoolchildren from the six-county Chicago area to submit posters and essays about a railroad safety-related theme. This year’s theme, “Keep Yourself(ies) Safe” called attention to the need to eliminate distractions when around tracks and trains. The winners, selected from more than 2,000 participants representing 194 area schools, were honored at the June 21 Metra Board of Directors meeting.
Metra’s other safety initiatives include Operation Lifesaver, Safety Blitzes, enforcement activities, safety signage and a confidential close call reporting system.