Posted by JRS on Feb 20, 2018
Dedicated to the local community, Rotary Club of Arlington Heights is sponsoring suicide prevention signs at the Arlington Heights’ Metra station. The effort is in conjunction with Rotary District 6440 and the Union Pacific Railroad to increase awareness of this issue and provide resources and contact information to counter it.
Suicide prevention on the rails is a serious issue. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 32 suicides-by-train in the state of Illinois in 2015. And while suicide on the rails can be an issue wherever there are tracks, the Chicago metro area has a higher incidence of suicides by train than the national average (as reported in The Chicago Tribune in 2014).

That Chicago Tribune report is based on research by Northwestern University’s Professor Ian Savage. His research found that 47% of railroad-pedestrian fatalities in the Chicago metro area were apparent suicides. That’s significantly higher than the national average of 30%.
Why? In his research, Professor Savage explained that the Chicago metro area is the largest rail hub in North America, served by all six major Class I freight railroads as well as by Amtrak passenger trains and Metra. Metra is one of the nation’s busiest commercial rail networks.
All this traffic means a high number of tracks, trains, grade crossings—and, unfortunately, opportunities. That rail density combines with a relatively low signage presence in trains and on or near the tracks and stations. While passengers in the Boston and New York commuter areas frequently encounter trackside warning signs, there is far less signage on Metra tracks in the Chicago metro area.
Rotary Club of Arlington Heights, Rotary District 6440, and Union Pacific Railroad aim to play a part in changing that. The signage sponsorship is in recognition of this serious issue and of the role Rotary can play.
All signs include contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Rotary Club of Arlington Heights offers meaningful opportunities to volunteer in, improve, and contribute to the local community. Dedicated to ‘Service Above Self,’ Rotary Club of Arlington Heights raises funds through the annual Rotary Santa Run (which just celebrated its 10th year) and the Special Leisure Services Foundation Classic Golf Outing. Rotarians also volunteer for special projects, such as shopping for and stocking the Wheeling Township Food Pantry, throughout the year. For more information on Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and how you can become involved, please visit We need your time and talent.