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MTA Railroads Ask Students to Create Memes and a Safety Superhero During Rail Safety Week

Updated September 19, 2021 4:30 p.m.

Railroads Record Major Safety Improvements at Railroad Crossings – Continue Push to Enhance Safety

MTA Metro-North Railroad is asking students to design their most creative memes to promote rail safety, and the Long Island Rail Road is asking students to create a safety superhero. These are among the steps the railroads are taking this week during National Rail Safety Week from Monday, Sept. 20, through Sunday, Sept. 26. 
“We’ve all been focused on safety from Covid-19 this last year and a half, and we will continue to be, but National Railroad Safety Week is a chance for us to remind the public about the importance of the need for being safe around railroads,” said Metro-North President Cathy Rinaldi. “I am proud of our Safety Department and their partnership with MTAPD and national transportation agencies to eliminate incidents and keep riders safe during these challenging times.”
“Rail safety is and always will be the top priority for the LIRR, and now it has taken on new meaning that goes beyond track and grade crossing awareness,” said Long Island Rail Road President Phil Eng. “This year we are seeking new and creative ways to further educate riders about safe practices that we can all take when traveling.”
Asking Students for Memes and a Safety Superhero
Both the LIRR and Metro-North have held annual Safety Poster Contests that invite students from grades pre-K through 12 to create posters illustrating what they believe is most important about rail safety. This year, thanks to funding made available by Operation Lifesaver, the railroads are expanding the contests into new realms.
Metro-North has launched a contest asking students to create videos and memes using animated gifs featuring Metro-Man, the railroad’s safety superhero. Details are the webpage we created with rules/guidelines.
This year’s LIRR contest’s contest will ask students to help the railroad develop an Operation Safety Superhero. Elementary school students (K - 5th) will name the new superhero. Middle school students (6th - 8th) will submit pictures/drawings of what the superhero looks like. High School students are invited to submit railroad focused safety lyrics/song to serve as theme music.
Major Community Outreach
Railroad safety ambassadors will conduct community outreach at various stations and railroad crossings around the system to distribute safety educational materials and converse with the community members about rail safety at these times and locations:

  • Monday, Sept. 20 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Stamford, Conn., Metro-North Station
  • Monday, Sept. 20 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Croton Harmon, N.Y., Metro-North Station
  • Monday, Sept. 20 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. – White Plains, N.Y., Metro-North Station
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. – New Clarkstown Road railroad crossing in Nanuet, N.Y.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Washington Avenue railroad crossing in Sloatsburg, N.Y.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Hudson Avenue railroad crossing in Peekskill, N.Y.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Cleveland Street railroad crossing in Valhalla, N.Y.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. – Triangle Street railroad crossing in Danbury, Conn.
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 all day – Hudson Avenue railroad crossing in Peekskill – in association with the Hudson Valley Irish Festival and the MTA Police Department

Thursday will be Rail Safety Passport Day for Metro-North, and railroad staff members will hand out rail safety passports at stations throughout the day.  Media wishing to cover the passport hand-outs should contact the MTA media relations office for details on when and where.
Long Island Rail Road

  • Monday, Sept. 20 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Westbury 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Farmingdale 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Little Neck 
  • Thursday, Sept. 23 6:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Deer Park 
  • Friday, Sept. 24 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Stony Brook 

Staff will concentrate on grade crossing safety, right of way hazards, and traveling safely using our system, emphasis is on the importance of wearing face coverings as required by federal law when on board trains and when in indoor stations/platforms.
Social Media Push
This year the railroads will turn to social media to promote rail safety under the hashtags #RailSafetyWeek #STOPTrackTragedies and #SeeTracksThinkTrain. 
Red Out for Rail Safety
Metro-North employees, along with Metro-Man, will be participating in #REDOUT For Rail Safety on Friday, Sept. 24, by encouraging employees to wear a red shirt to support rail safety. Metro-Man, in his #REDOUT shirt will be making an appearance in North White Plains. Media wishing to cover Metro-Man’s appearance are encouraged to reach out to the MTA Media Relations Office for details.
Railroad Crossing Safety Accomplishments and a Push Against Distracted Driving
For adults, Metro-North has launched a campaign targeting distracted driving with the help of Operation Lifesaver. For more information, please visit
The LIRR has experienced just three accidental vehicle turning onto tracks since June 2018 after launching a nation-leading program to install flexible delineators at all 294 crossings, and provide GPS alerts through Waze, warning drivers not to turn onto the tracks. Metro-North's 103 grade crossings are also represented in the Waze app and the railroad has completed installation of flexible delineators at all of them – further enhancing safety. 
The MTA has recently eliminated eight of its busiest railroad crossings as part of the LIRR Expansion Project, in New Hyde Park, Garden City, Mineola, Westbury and New Cassel. 
National Rail Safety Week and More Information
The goal of National Rail Safety Week is to raise awareness of the need for rail safety education and empower the general public to keep themselves safe near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way. Participation in the national week-long education campaign is part of MTA Railroads’ TRACKS program (Together Railroads And Communities Keeping Safe), a joint venture between the safety departments of the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad to reach out to schools, camps, day care and community groups. 
The MTA Police Department assigns two full-time police officers to the TRACKS program. The officers are responsible for performing safety presentations at schools, professional driving courses, and drivers education classes for teens and adults. They represent the MTA at community events to distribute safety literature and encourage positive relationships between police officers and the community.
For more information about Rail Safety Week and the Long Island Rail Road’s TRACKS program and to view past contest winners, click here
For more information about Rail Safety Week and Metro-North Railroad’s TRACKS program and to view past contest winners, click here