This month, the MTA is deploying its own superhero called Metro-Man to hand out masks at Metro-North stations and to be part of the TRACKS (Together Railroads and Communities Keeping Safe) Safety Program, an educational programming now also online that helps adults and kids practice safety at railroad crossings. Metro-North’s Metro-Man made an appearance at Grand Central Terminal on July 15 and helped Metro-North Railroad’s Customer Service Department hand out masks to riders. He will make additional appearances on July 22 in Stamford from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and July 29 in North White Plains from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

Metro Man handing out  masksPhoto courtesy MTA Metro-North Railroad

This isn’t Metro-Man’s first appearance however; it has been on staff since 1983 to educate school children about railroad safety, teaching them the difference between diesel service and third rail power. The Metro-Man on exhibit in Grand Central is the original model, inspired by Star Wars’ R2-D2. The more modern Metro-Man had its first appearance at Rye Playland Opening Day in May 2018, according to MTA spokesperson Meredith Daniels.

Metro Man MTAMetro-Man stands in front of the White Plains Station. Courtesy Lorne Lieb/ MTA Metro-North Railroad

“There is only one suit/costume, and Metro-North has an employee who mainly wears the suit, but there are also back-up employees who have worn the suit/helped as needed,” Daniels tells us. “Metro-North is sanitizing the suit after each time it is worn. In the past we have asked MTA PD to bring a canine, when available, to ‘pose’ as TRACKS the dog for certain events- mainly in Grand Central Terminal.”

Metro Man in Grand CentralPhoto courtesy MTA Metro-North Railroad

In addition to Metro-Man, the MTA will also be releasing a number of educational initiatives to protect the safety of New Yorkers. The LIRR recently sponsored a mask design contest for Kindergarten through Grade 12 students, and the five winning designs will be announced today. During Rail Safety Week in September, the MTA will launch a student safety poster contest as well. Metro-North Railroad has an online coloring book and passport for younger children featuring Metro-Man and his dog, TRACKS, as well as Operation Lifesaver’s Sly Fox & Birdie coloring pages and video.

Metro Man in Grand Central with flowersCourtesy Lorne Lieb/ MTA Metro-North Railroad

Metro Man handing out mask in Grand Central atriumPhoto courtesy MTA Metro-North Railroad

Cathy Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad said, “We’re proud of Metro-North’s TRACKS program and how it has helped the community learn about rail safety. The addition of Metro-Man and online resources has really engaged younger people and led to improvements in safety around tracks and grade crossings.”

Next, check out when Metro-North had a tiki bar car