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Fredericksburg line riders are all too familiar … The sun is shining and the weather is fine. Ping – A Heat Restriction is in effect starting at 1pm.
Safety is at the Heart
First and foremost, safety is always our number 1 priority at VRE. We follow speed restrictions issued by our host railroads, including heat orders, to ensure the safety of our passengers and crew.
CSX issues Heat Restrictions on days when the temperature drastically rises from the morning hours or when a combination of the ambient temperature and rail traffic creates excessive heat in the rails through friction. Though rare, the expanding and contracting of the rails may lead to sun kinks on these days, and the slowing of trains reduce forces that contribute to the potential issue.
Better Setting Expectations
As Heat Restrictions are issued on most summer days on the Fredericksburg line, it only makes sense to just plan for them on our southbound trains. Delays occur throughout the trip, but the effects on arrival times do not generally impact the schedule until the stations farther south, though our train crews do everything possible to safely make up for time en route. It really isn’t until Quantico that riders typically notice the few extra minutes added to their trip.
Our new seasonal schedule adds two minutes to the arrival time at Quantico. The long stretch between Quantico and Brooke at the slower speed impacts the schedule by seven minutes and the segment between Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania adds another two minutes. If you’ve been riding with us for awhile, you’ve come to expect the added time on warm days. However, incorporating the Heat Restrictions as a known factor help better set expectations for when you’ll set foot at your home station, which may be particularly helpful for those being picked up.
While the schedule is changing on paper for the summer, the good news is that stations from Brooke south are designated as “L” stations. This means on days when heat-related speed restrictions are not in effect or if the crews have been able to make up time during the trip, the trains may depart those stations as soon as their station work is complete. No need to wait until the scheduled departure time.
The seasonal schedule will be effective the first service day after Memorial Day through the last service day prior to Labor Day.
The schedule on our website will be updated prior to when service resumes after Memorial Day. Look for updated pocket schedules onboard the trains and posters at the stations. Here is a preview of the impacted times:
- Trains 300 & 307 will Supplement S Schedule
Effective Monday, July 27: Fredericksburg Line trains 300 and 307 will supplement our reduced-service “S” schedule.
- Rider Responsibilities
Even with the extra precautionary steps taken by our teams to defeat the spread of the virus, we all need VRE passengers to comply with these guidelines to be as successful as possible.
- Enhanced Cleaning Procedures
VRE railcars are disinfected twice a day, after morning and evening service, with special attention given to frequently touched surfaces.
- More on Social Distancing
VRE is committed to social distancing to the extent possible. Under our current plan, roughly a third of our seats are available to passengers.
- What to Expect in the Coming Weeks
Throughout June, we'll be installing graphics to make social distancing on our trains and at our stations as simple as possible. Plus, we will make hand sanitizer available to our riders.