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It sometimes seems impossible to believe that a lost umbrella or cell phone could ever find its way back to us, but at VRE, thousands of “lost” items have been reunited with their owners over the years thanks to our Lost & Found program, which has an 85-90 percent return rate.
If you've misplaced an item, the process for making a claim is simple, just fill out VRE's online Lost Item Report or call 800-743-3873 as soon as you realize an item is missing. Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible to help distinguish your property from similar items.
In the meantime, VRE staff collects and tags items that are found on the trains every day. It can sometimes take up to 48 hours for an item to make it off the trains and through the proper channels to end up at our office in Alexandria, so please plan accordingly if you want to pick up an item. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You must have a photo ID to recover your item from Lost & Found, and items are only kept for 30 days, except for keys, which will now be held for six months. (Food items must be claimed by 6:30 p.m. on the day that they arrive at VRE. All food items left after that time will be discarded.) Unclaimed items (except keys and food) are all donated to charity.
We ask that everyone coming to our offices to retrieve a lost item have a photo ID and please don't come until you have filed a report. Arriving unannounced without a report on file slows the whole process down and will likely result in more frustration for the customer. We're here to help, and we'll welcome anyone to come in to take a look at keys, umbrellas, glasses, but if you give us a heads up us that you're coming, everything can be processed more smoothly.
If you lose your ticket or ID, the procedure is similar: except you use the on-line Lost Ticket Report at http://www.vre.org/communicate-with-vre/contact/lost-tickets-form. If your ticket is found, we will contact you and make arrangements to return it to you. Ten-Trip and Single-Ride tickets will be mailed to your home address and Monthly tickets and Five Day Passes can be picked up at our Alexandria office between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. If you lose a Monthly ticket that is not found within 48 hours of reporting it missing, you may be eligible for a replacement ticket.
While we will do our absolute best to recover lost items and tickets, we are not ultimately responsible for them. In the case of a lost ticket, it is your responsibility to be in possession of a valid ticket when riding on trains until the missing ticket surfaces and is returned. To help ensure your ticket is returned, follow these simple suggestions:
- Always print your name and daytime telephone number on the front of your ticket,
- Try not to keep other people's business cards in your ticket holder, and
- Do not keep other valuables, like IDs or other tickets inside your ticket pouches. The higher its value, the more tempting it maybe for someone to take your ticket/pouch rather than to turn it in.
One final suggestion: A number of lost items and tickets go unclaimed. Please make sure to file a report even if you think your lost item or ticket(s) may not be of value.
- History of the Railroader's Timepiece
Keeping time on the railroad began as an imperfect science. Timepieces of the very early 1800's were notorious for losing as much as ten minutes a day.
- Bell Versus Horn
Two very symbolic and perhaps widely known components of the locomotive are the bell and the horn. Both are vital safety features, however, the bell's use predates the locomotive to the days of horse-drawn street cars and carriages.
- History of Railroad Signaling
Since its birth, the railroad has employed a variety of signaling methods to communicate with locomotive crews as to what course of action they must take, mile by mile, in order to safeguard themselves from possible collision.
- A Reminder to Validate Your Tickets
Validating a ticket is the process of applying the value of one ride from your ticket to your current trip on the train.
- U.S.N.O. Time
VRE's trains run not by the time it says on your watch, but by the time that the U.S. Naval Observatory Time Services Department says it is.