MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced the winners of its Third Annual Rail Safety Poster Contest that asked students from grades pre-K to 12 to create posters illustrating what they believe is most important about rail safety.
The contest was overseen by TRACKS, a community outreach and education program run by Metro-North’s Office of System Safety. TRACKS stands for “Together Railroads And Communities Keeping Safe.”
The TRACKS team received a total of169student poster entries. The poster entries were divided into four grade groups (Pre-K, K-3, 4-8, 9-12) for the judging process, and evaluated on the best representations of safety around trains and train tracks.
“We received a record number of submissions, showing the impact the program is having,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad. “Safety will always be priority number one at Metro-North and the TRACKS program helps us spread that important message to our riders of the future.”
“Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you to all who participated,” said Justin Vonashek, Vice President of System Safety for Metro-North Railroad. “This program continues to be a great tool to help promote rail safety in our schools and the communities we serve. To see how much the program has grown in three short years is a testament to that.”
Since its inception in 2016 the TRACKS program has reached 394,319 individuals. This year the program will be offered virtually to adhere to CoViD-19 protocols.
TRACKS covers grade crossing safety, rider safety, trespassing, and suicide prevention. It’s designed for students, drivers, customers, pedestrians and residents who work and live in or around the communities within Metro-North Railroad’s territory. The TRACKS program earned the Gold Award for Safety, which is the highest safety award presented by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
In addition to organizing the kid-friendly poster contest to help make its safety message resonate with young people, TRACKS introduced special ambassadors: a superhero known as Metro-Man, and his faithful companion, a dog named Tracks. Metro-Man, a Metro-North employee dressed in a special costume that features a voice modulator and LED display, and his sidekick Tracks, who is played by an MTA Police Department canine, are incorporated into safety presentations, are featured in coloring and activity books that help reinforce the safety message, and make appearances at community events.
Winning posters will be featured in TRACKS presentations for the 2021 calendar year. The winning artists will receive a certificate of achievement from Justin Vonashek, Vice President of System Safety and Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad, and receive TRACKS tokens.
The list of contest winners is below:
Preschool | Brooklyn, NY
St. Barnabas Elementary School | Bronx, NY
Dobbs Ferry Middle School | Dobbs Ferry, NY
Saunders Trades and Technical High School | Yonkers, NY