Metra Announces 16th Annual Safety Contest

Publication Date
Monday, November 07, 2022


Metra today launched its 16th Annual Safety Poster and Essay Contest, asking students to illustrate through posters and essays the importance of safe behaviors near the railroad. This year’s theme is “Stay Safe, Stay Off Train Tracks.”
Since 2006, Metra has been bringing safety lessons into classrooms across northeast Illinois through its Safety Poster and Essay Contest. Over the past decade, more than 37,000 students have had the opportunity to show what they’ve learned about the importance of safe behaviors around trains and railroad tracks. The contest is 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. The deadline for all entries is Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

 “Metra has been encouraging students for 16-years to get involved in rail safety awareness by making them authors of the message,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Safety is our highest priority and with this contest it is our goal is to expose more young people to the lessons of railroad safety and ultimately prevent unnecessary tragedies on our tracks.”

In 2021 alone, 666 people were injured and 236 people lost their lives in collisions at railroad crossings in the United States, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). In Illinois in 2021, 20 people died when they were struck by trains while trespassing on railroad property, and 21 people died when they were struck by trains at a highway-rail grade 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.

We’re mailing contest information to schools, libraries, and local government centers across the region to help spread the word of safety along the railroad. Printable versions of the contest poster in English and Spanish are also available through the contest website One first-, second- and third-place winner will be selected from each grade, K through 12 and awarded the following prizes:
First Place: $500 gift card
Second Place: $250 gift card
Third Place: $100 gift card

The winning designs will be featured in Metra’s safety calendar, website, and on weekend passes.

Metra will also recognize the school that submits the most entries in the 2022-2023 Safety Poster Contest by awarding it a new computer compatible with the school’s current system. Each school’s entries will be totaled after the contest deadline on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.

Students are also encouraged to enter the 2022-2023 Metra Safety Essay Contest. Contest participants are asked to describe in 300 words or less why you should “Stay Safe, Stay Off Train Tracks” when near railroad tracks, platforms, and crossings. Students will compete in three divisions: Elementary, Middle and High School. First-place winners in each division of the essay contest will also receive a $500 gift card.
For more information about the contest rules and guidelines, as well as downloadable entry forms, please visit the contest website at, where you can submit your completed contest entry. Questions about the contest or materials can be directed to

Metra has a long history of being extremely active in railroad safety education efforts through its participation in Operation Lifesaver, a railroad industry educational program that teaches train safety awareness. Metra has two Operation Lifesaver presenters who provide nearly 1,000 safety blitzes and safety presentations each year that stress the message “Look, Listen and Live” to schools, driver education programs and various community organizations. For more information about Metra’s overall railroad safety outreach and programs, please visit
Printable versions of the contest poster are available in English and Spanish at