Stay off the CTA rails - "It's not worth your life"

In a new information campaign, the CTA is reminding its rail riders about the dangers of trespassing on the tracks.

The campaign carries an important and simple message: “Stay Off the Tracks, It’s Not Worth Your Life.”

Stay off tracksThe campaign uses that tagline in 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.

Last year there were more than 300 reported incidents of people entering the tracks, also known as the rail right of way. And there were 11 deaths reported from riders on the tracks.

CTA officials say that people usually make a conscious decision to enter the tracks, for such reasons as retrieving a cellphone or dropped wallet. If you lose something on the track, don’t become a death statistic – inform a CTA station employee.

Not surprisingly, alcohol has been a factor in many incidents, according to both CTA and Chicago Police records.  Very few of those reported incidents involve customers accidentally falling or tripping onto the tracks.

(My own personal fear is being nudged onto the tracks as I’m bent over getting something out of my briefcase.)

The CTA says new safety campaign car cards and posters will appear on rail cars and at rail stations throughout the CTA system starting this week, and will also be used on digital signs at stations. These key safety tips appear at

  • Stay off CTA tracks: There are moving trains as fast as 55 m.p.h. (and approach more quickly than you may realize) and 600-volt electrified rails.
  • Stand well clear of the platform edge (and blue platform edging) until your train has come to a complete stop in the station.
  • The platform is not a playground: Please don’t goof around, you could end up on the tracks.
  • If you drop something, DON’T try to retrieve it yourself. An employee can help by holding trains and retrieving your phone or other items for you.

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  • You know what makes me the most nervous? When a little kid is running around on the platform and its mother doesn't appearing to be doing enough to keep it away from the edge. Maybe she knows best what the kid will or won't do. But I still get nervous.

  • A complete waste of both time & money.
    Almost all of the deaths were drunk & nothing will cure them of that.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    I disagree Scooter. Education about drunk driving has dramatically reduced the number of drunk-driving deaths. People aren't drunk 100% of the time you know.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Don't forget, Phil Pagano promoted "Operation Lifesaver."

    Since Mr. Lee whose legal heirs won a lawsuit 20 years after his marinated body was fried on the third rail at 4700 N. Kedzie, are the signs in Korean, Spanish, Chinese?

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    You're confused as to cause & effect.
    Stopping drunk driving is easy compared to keeping drunk beyond belief college students on the platform.

    And Jack reminds you of Phil Pagano's interest in Operation Lifesaver. He knew so much about it, that's how he killed himself!

  • Frankly, I'm amazed that more people don't fall on the tracks. I see way too many people standing too close to the platform edge. It doesn't take much to lose ones balance.

    On top of that, there are numerous narrow platforms throughout the system, and a lot of self-centered riders that block the platform, making it difficult to pass. They're oblivious to their surroundings. If someone is going to stand on a narrow platform, they should be as close to the back as possible.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    There was the one of two twins who got electrocuted at Howard about a month ago. Don't know about his BAC, but obviously was too close to the edge, and got shoved over (and apparently flew about 8 feet laterally).

  • I'm terrified of falling on the tracks. At some stations you can only walk single file along the edge to get to the stairs. I hate that.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    Again, Howard is sort of bad with regard to that. There isn't much clearance between the stairs and tracks on the subway platforms, either.

  • In reply to Kim Z Dale:

    I use the LaSalle/Van Buren platform, and it's bad, too. The platform is probably 4 to 5 feet wide, and someone is almost always standing in the area, making passage difficult.

  • Yeah. Try finding a CTA employee at lots of stations.

  • I have to agree,just try to find a cta employee at a station,good luck,they are just like the police on the subway,seen rarely

  • Sad world this is coming to when we have to create fancy signs, flyers and campaigns to illustrate common sense.

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