Metra stages massive clean-up effort along Chicago-area tracks for Earth Day

If you saw people in orange vests along the side of the Dan Ryan Expressway near Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday, they may have been part of a big Metra clean-up effort in honor of Earth Day.

Metra employees spent the day picking up garbage alongside the tracks and planting wild flowers and trees on Metra-owned land all around the city.

While cleaning up comes with the job for employees in the engineering department, at least half of the employees out Wednesday morning were from headquarters, volunteering to help with the effort.


"This year we wanted to come out and show the community that we care," spokeswoman Meg Thomas-Reile said.

She said one of the best ways to fight pollution is by taking Metra trains, so the company thought it made sense to expand their Earth Day activities.

"It's the first year we're getting some people from our headquarters to come out and volunteer to get a little more involved in our communities. And I think it's great ... not just to help our community, but to build relationships between people who work in the field all day and people who work in the office," said Thomas-Reile.

Julie Taylor, the manager of Administrative Services, said she was happy to volunteer to help clean.

"Did you see it?" Taylor asked. "It looks like people just drive past and throw the garbage out of their car. It feels good to help keep the city clean and just to clean up the environment and clean up our trash.

Cleanup and gardening activities will be taking place along the Rock Island Line, the Metra Electric Line and the Milwaukee District North and West lines through Friday.

Metra is asking everyone to take other steps to observe Earth Day: Take a walk, plant a tree, ride your bike, plant a garden, recycle, or carpool.