Thank you for joining us today. While we try to answer as many as possible, we cannot get to all the questions so if your question was not answered please email it to

Again, Meet the Management starts on April 27th at Union Station. Hopefully we will see you there (and it is much warmer than this week!).

See Tracks. Think Train.

Rich, Chris, et al.

  • David from Manassas, VA asks
    I noticed the yellow platform edge at L'Enfant was torn up by CSX; I believe while replacing ties. Are they going to fix the damage or are we just going to have to live with it?

    VRE Response
    Our Facilities Manager and his crew inspected and made some minor repairs on the day the damage occurred, and he has a project scheduled to repair/replace the tactile panels once the track work is complete.


  • Mark from Burke, VA asks
    Yesterday I was riding the VRE with a coworker (she's been riding for 2+ years). She had just returned from L.A., and realized she forgot to buy her monthly ticket. Even though the conductor saw that she had the VRE app, and even though my friend quickly used it to buy her monthly ticket, the conductor issued a summons and $100 fine. As another rider I know once said - one who successfully fought a summons - "The VRE criminalizes absent-mindedness." The hard-line approach to punishing people who make genuine mistakes - which, in my 16+ years as a rider, is 99 percent of the people who get busted - makes little sense. The VRE expects perfection from riders, with no chance to buy the ticket once on the train, yet 15 minutes after my friend was fined, the train sat for nearly 25 minutes outside of L'Enfant. So it's OK for the VRE to screw up but not for riders? Which begs the question: When is the VRE going to stop criminalizing absent-mindedness?

    VRE Response
    If a passenger is found guilty of not having a valid ticket on board the train, it results in a civil infraction. Less than 1 percent of our riders are found guilty of this and we understand people do not like to be punished. However, we have an open system (no gates) and we rely on the responsibility of the rider to make sure they have the proper ticket before they get on the train. We know people make honest mistakes, but the law requires us to write a summons for anyone who does not have a valid ticket prior to boarding the train.  We have asked the conductors to leave the question of intent to the court.


  • 4 riders in Burke from Burke asks
    We have taken our own survey and the last train in the morning has been arriving AR Burke at 8:11 and departing 8:13 consistently the past 3 mornings and 3 times last week, leaving stranded riders in the parking lot. Can this be remedied? (Time is accurate based on three cell phones)

    VRE Response
    We just checked the GPS for this week and the train arrived between 8:13 and 8:14 each day, and departed 3-5 minutes later.  If you notice the train leaving early again, please drop us a note at on the day it happens and we can check it immediately.

  • Robin from Broad Run asks
    What will happen to the Broad Run station when Gainesville opens? I heard the station would be closed down; Since VRE flat refuses to consider a 'Bealton' expansion, this would greatly reduce service to many of the Broad Run riders. Does VRE have a reason for totally ruling out a Bealton expansion (and maybe going to Culpeper in the future) Having spoken to a few Fauquier County Supervisors; they are not at all against the VRE expanding into our county. Or why not do both?

    VRE Response
    When the VRE System Plan 2040 was completed, the VRE Operations Board made a decision to focus VRE's long-range service expansion plans on the existing VRE service area rather than pursue extensions new service areas such as Fauquier or Culpeper Counties. The Gainesville-Haymarket extension was identified as the Manassas Line expansion priority. VRE is evaluating various future service options as part of the GHX study, including a service plan that realigns the Manassas Line to a Haymarket terminus and eliminates passenger service to the current Broad Run station. The GHX study will continue for the next year and include detailed analysis of the benefits and costs of the extension; a final decision on the future of the Broad Run station will not be made until the study is complete.

  • Tim from Nokesville, VA asks
    I get that Friday's fiasco was a case of inadequate or failed communication from your railroad partners and there wasn't much you could do about it. But your own communication with passengers was, in a word, lousy. I ride Manassas 327 which was supposed to get to Crystal City at 4:00 I believe. At 5:30 and beyond until nearly 6 we were still hearing the same announcement along the lines of, Trains are delayed up to an hour due to switch issues at Union Station, we have no estimate at this time. It was infuriating to hear not just a clearly incorrect message, but a contradictory one as well. This is not the first time the messages have been useless in such a situation. Do better, get better.

    VRE Response
    We apologize for any confusion. The intent was to say that trains are experiencing delays up to an hour while we have no estimate when the issue will be fixed and trains can begin moving again. Our goal is to give the best information possible in a succinct manner.


  • Kate from Fredericksburg VA asks
    Since I haven't seen anyone else say this today, I wanted to comment on Monday's 307 problem. It was a horrible start to the week, and it was almost 8PM before we made it back to FBurg; But I wanted to say that the crew was outstanding. The situation was bizarre and they were as in the dark as the passengers, but they kept their cool, answered the hundreds of questions that were fired at them to the best of their ability, and when they did have information they spread the word quickly. I was on the 307 and our two conductors were just super professional through it all; they were at the run the entire time, but were always close by to tell us what was happening next. It was a really bad day for them too, and I appreciate how they handled things.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the compliment and your patience, Kate.

  • Paul from Boston, MA asks
    Your forum for Q&A is a good forum for continuous improvement. Keep up the good work.

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Paul. This is one of many avenues for two way dialog between VRE and the passengers.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    One morning last month, why did the dispatchers allow an Amtrak train ahead of Train #306 north of Alexandria delaying VRE? Amtrak does not stop all VRE stops, so it does not need to go ahead of VRE. One time last year, VRE was allowed to go ahead of Amtrak and this is the way it should be.

    VRE Response
    Decisions by the dispatchers are made in the best interest of the railroad as a whole. While this decision might have resulted in slowing down a VRE train, there are instances where VRE trains slow down Amtrak trains.

  • Curtis from F'burg asks
    Why were there no notifications sent out regarding yesterday's #312 train delays?

    VRE Response
    We asked crews to make onboard announcements.

  • John from Woodbridge, VA asks
    What is the "Atlantic Gateway"? Will it expand VRE service?

    VRE Response
    Atlantic Gateway is a Commonwealth of Virginia initiative to expand, enhance and create additional freight and personal mobility choices in the I-95 multi-modal corridor. It encompasses I-95/I-395 HOT extension north to Pentagon and south to Fredericksburg, Long Bridge and Fredericksburg Line rail capacity improvements, additional park-and-ride lots, and corridor-wide innovation and technology improvements (e.g., ramp metering). Service improvements include two additional VRE roundtrips (Fredericksburg and Manassas line) and enhanced bus service in the I-95/I-395 corridor.

  • Yvette from Fredericksburg. VA asks
    The free ride certificates I received this week expire on 06/30/16 which make it difficult to use within that short time period. Will there be an opportunity to exchange them before they expire? Thank you.

    VRE Response
    No we will not extend the time on the FRCs.

  • Ron from Washington, Virginia asks
    The worst aspect of the horrible commute last Friday night was not the delay, but he lack of meaningful communication. If Amtrak failed or refused to provide information about the nature of the problem and updates regarding the likely time to fix the problem, then VRE as Amtrak's customer should DEMAND better performance from them so that VRE can provide better service to its customers. What concrete steps are you taking to ensure that in the future such lack of communication will not occur again?

    VRE Response
    Ron - the issue Friday was not a lack of communication, we were in contact with Amtrak throughout the entire event.  The challenge was Amtrak was working on troubleshooting the issue, and until they determined the cause, they could not give us any specific information on expected resolution time.  It certainly was not from a lack of effort or desire on their part to give us updates, they simply did not have the answers to give.  In our debrief, Amtrak has ensured us that resolving the underlying issues that caused the failure in their air system is their main priority.

  • Jane from Manassas VA asks
    I have allergies and sensitivities to perfumes and strong scents. There seem to be quite a few people who use overpowering scented hand sanitizer, or put on strongly scented lotion, or spray perfume or hairspray while on the train. This causes me to end up with a migraine for the rest of the night. I typically would go to another car to avoid it but it seems no matter where I go I will eventually encounter this. Is there anyway to make a policy regarding not spraying or using scented items while on the train. Not asking to have no one wear perfume, etc. Just asking that they not spray or apply this items while on the train. There is one lady in particular who uses a strawberry scented hand sanitizer that is so pungent it literally makes the entire car smell like fake strawberries.

    VRE Response
    Courtesy Reminder.

  • John from Manassas asks
    Regarding this past Friday. After your announcement suggesting that riders seek alternate transportation, I did just that. Am I entitled to an FRC? I e-mailed "Go Trains" on Monday with that question but did not yet get an answer.

    VRE Response
    Yes you can request an FRC.  Please fill out the FRC request form at  


  • RJ from Spotsylvania asks
    In the last couple of days I've been in two near misses in the Spotsylvania parking lot (and seen about 6 others). Please get the Sheriffs out there and ticket the knuckleheads who refuse to obey the stop signs. The county could probably have a budget surplus on the number of moving violations in that lot.

    VRE Response
    We will pass your concern over to Spotsylvania County law enforcement. 

  • Marc from Leeland Station asks
    What is the status of the new cars? When will they be put into service? Will they go to the Fredericksburg line to replace the legacy cars or will they go to the Manassas line?

    VRE Response
    5 new cars went into service on March 30th.  These replaced the legacy cars on Train 310, and currently operate as Train 303 in the afternoon.


  • Ray from Fredericksburg asks
    Is the Sun hotter on the Fredericksburg line than it is on the Manassas line? Please don't use your standard "different rules" response. The logic doesn't pass the smell test. If the rails are made of the same materials, why is the Fredericksburg Line (CSX) more susceptible to "sun kinks" than on the Manassas Line (NS)? Does Norfolk Southern not care about passenger safety?

    VRE Response
    The difference in heat policies is due to CSX having a lot more train traffic on their tracks than Norfolk Southern. This means they have more friction related heat (from the trains themselves). As a result, they have more speed restrictions to compensate for this additional heat related factor.  The railroads do have different rules, and our crews are required to operate in compliance with these rules at all times.  

  • Rich from Clifton VA asks
    Are there ever any efforts to pick up litter along the tracks and near stations (Like crystal City). And it's not just ordinary liter but old rail ties, old tracks, old railway parts and equipment that are just strewn along the tracks, into the woods, streams etc. It's just a disgusting ride along the rails, and unfortunate that we treat the environment in such a manner. I know VRE does not own the tracks, but are there any efforts to "clean" them up periodically? Thanks!

    VRE Response
    We'll be happy to pass the comment along to the railroads.  Occasionally, they will have one of the work crews in the area remove debris.  Right now, with so many different enhancement projects occurring simultaneously, it may look worse than normal.

  • Aaron from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    The past three weeks of service on VRE have been ridiculous for what we pay for. Why did you adjust the schedules to not get stuck behind Amtrak and continue to get stuck behind Amtrak> When is this cycle of being late going to end?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Aaron.  The majority of delays on the Fredericksburg line are related to third track work that is underway.  We understand and appreciate the frustration as we also commute daily on that line.  The result of this work will make the railroad much more flexible in handling the increasing train traffic, we just ask for patience and understanding as we go through the process.  In the meantime, we will continue to focus on eliminating any of the controllable delays that simply exacerbate the situation.

  • Brad from Alexandria, VA asks
    What is the status of the tunnel between the Alexandria train station platform and the King Street Metro station? Projected completion date?

    VRE Response
    The project is currently in the design phase, between 30% and 60% design.  We are working with CSX to determine a construction schedule, but it looks like completion could be in 2019.

  • Lisa from Spotsylvania asks
    It has been a while now and I would like to know if the 305 train will be changed back to 3:43 from 3:33 from L'Enfant. I know VRE has said it is CSX telling you to change the time but that train has been coming at 3:43 for years. People that got off work around 3 pm could make the 3:43 train now we have to wait for the 4:18 train. That is almost an hours wait. When VRE said they were putting another train in service I thought it would between the 1 pm train and the next train. But no VRE goes and changes the 305 train. Why have two trains only 15 minutes apart. Many times we are waiting for the 303 train to unload before we can keep moving. Please bring back the 3:43 train.

    VRE Response
    The new train was added in between the midday train and the first afternoon train.  The train which used to be 303, now 305, was moved by 10 minutes to get separation from Amtrak 125 because of congestion which had traditionally occurred towards the southern end of the Fredericksburg line. 

  • Doug from Broad Run asks
    The conductors on the trains I ride (which vary a lot, so I see most of the Manassas crews) spend most of their time hitting on passengers. If they were to spend more time doing their jobs, then there would be less incidents of people taking up two seats for the entire trip, less noise in the quiet cars (which are neither quiet nor silent anymore), and less queuing and other general rudeness displayed on the trains. You keep saying that correcting these things are a mater of courtesy and imply that VRE has no official interest in putting a stop to these bad behaviors, but they are a matter of following your published rules. Time to stop assuming that the passengers can take care of themselves while the conductors pursue their love life (or spend their time harassing passengers who don't appreciate the attention) and take some responsibility for conditions and behavior on the trains.

    VRE Response
    Doug, we take these allegations seriously. Please send specifics to so we can address appropriately. Many issues are simply courtesy issues, but if there is something that goes against a policy, the conductors should be addressing it.

  • KC from Manassas asks
    Good afternoon, when are you updating the expiration date on your free ride certificates? You've been handing out the same ones for the past couple years without extending the expiration date period, so those handed out during the recent delays expire in June and don't give riders as much time to use them.

    VRE Response
    A new version of FRCs will be available shortly, those FRCs will have an expiration date of June 30, 2018.

  • Peter from Manassas, VA asks
    Why did you wait an hour or more to tell people to use the metro option on Friday - April 1st? Also, why doesn't someone other than the computer give out information over the PA? How do we get our ticket we missed?

    VRE Response
    As mentioned earlier, there was a repair put in place which we believed would allow us to get trains moving.  Trains 303 and 305 were able to depart Union Station, but then the air system failed again on the switches.  Once that occurred and we could not get an estimated time for repairs, we opened the Metro Option.

    The automatic announcements play when a train falls outside it's schedule.  In a debrief meeting yesterday with the Communications staff, we asked them to disable the auto announcements that play for each train, and revert to live PA announcements, or specific monitor displayed messages to alleviate the confusion that results when both are playing.

    If you were missed with an FRC, please contact us at

  • Wait A Few Minutes from Lefant Plaza asks
    When there is a delay in the mornings between Lefant and Union Station; it would be WONDERFUL if VRE could make an announcement prior to leaving the Le'Fant Plaza stop; giving passengers the option of either staying on the train/getting off. It's rather annoying knowing that while the train is sitting above South Capital; that we could have gotten off the train a few minutes ago.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the suggestion. We normally have the conductors make these announcements and will remind them about it. We will also look to include in written communication as well.

  • Dave from Manassas/Woodbridge asks
    Can you all swap the Fred line 305 and Manassas Line 327? Its kind of unfair to the Manassas Line riders in the afternoon/evening for earlier departure times. The Fred line has the 303, 305, Amtrak 125, and 307 all heading south between 300pm to 4:20pm and the Manassas Line has only the 327 during that window. Or add another train between 300pm to 345 pm. It would go a long way with customer satisfaction.

    VRE Response
    The previous schedules had 303 departing ahead 327, so that hasn't changed.  When we had the opportunity to add a train, we requested a slot in the window between the midday trains and the first afternoon trains because we have always received requests for trains in that window.  When we have an opportunity to add a Manassas line train, we will probably try to get it in that same window,  Unfortunately, we have no short-term plans for being able to add a Manassas line train.

  • Laurie from Alexandria VA asks
    There seems to be a lot of issues with VRE being delayed. How are you going to improve ensuring customers are told real time what is happening with the trains so they can make alternative arrangements instead of being stuck for an hour? Also we used to get free ride tickets or have metro as an option if the trains are late and lately you also stopped doing that.

    VRE Response
    When we have accurate information on delays, we share that information in real time.  With Friday's Union Station incident, Amtrak originally thought they had the issue resolved, but when that fix failed, we could not get any real estimate for final repair because that information was not available.

    Free Ride Certificates should still be handed out for delays over 30 minutes.  That has not changed.  If you did not receive one, please send a request to GoTrains

  • Harley from Woodbridge asks
    More of an FYI - I see a lot of people getting in their government laptops and doing work others shouldn't be seen. People need to practice OPSEC. This also goes for work phone calls on the train. It's ridiculous.

    VRE Response
    Great observation Harley, we're happy to share it here.

  • Clay from Fredericksburg Virginia asks
    Glad you heard us about having a rep at Union Station, but she is having great difficulty obtaining information for us, like which track the VRE will arrive on in the evenings. When more than a couple passengers ask her about it, half the time she walks off and does not return, and the other half of the time, she sees it at the same time that we all do, and says look, it is on track 24. Really? We can all look at the damn windows for the train!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Clay.  Kim is with us today in the studio, so she is seeing your concerns first-hand.  As she is an Amtrak Station Manager, she has direct communications with the Amtrak personnel who route the trains and post the track information.  Her goal is to make sure the information is accurate, but more often than not the track assignments are made a few minutes prior to the train's arrival, so getting the information earlier is not always possible.

  • Obi Wan from Kingstowne, VA asks
    VRE has done and amazing job improving the web site and providing the app for ticket purchases. But when I go to the website I still do not know wat to select for news on the trains that are running that day. The site seems to bury information behind at least one if not two levels of clicking. Have you considered a live scrolling side-bar that is title something like "Daily Operating Status"? That way I go to your web site and I don't have to choose from all the options (this is riding a train, the web site has made it far too complex). I see the Daily Operating Status scrolling on the live sidebar. As much as I like the improved website it is still frustrating to use for basic information.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Obi Wan.  Current train status can be either viewed under Train Status for the map, or any alerts/delays would be at the top of the page in the yellow alert bar.

  • James from Nokesville, VA asks
    The other day Feed 307 had a pump issue or something and had to be coupled with Fred 309. That made at least 307, 309, and Manassas 331 delayed. With the train delayed a little bit more than 20 minutes, why did the conductor check my ticket instead of giving me a free pass?

    VRE Response
    The conductors are required to check tickets on all trains.  Once a train delay exceeds 30 minutes, Free Ride Certificates are handed out.

  • Katie Rose from Manassas, VA asks
    The VRE has gotten new railcars to "improve riders' experience by increasing both comfort and reliabilty." My question is why have there been so many mechanical issues, especially recently (1 April and 4 April) with this equipment?

    VRE Response
    The April 1 issue was with the switches at Union Station, operated by Amtrak, so not related to VRE or our equipment.  The only mechanical issue has been the fuel pump on the locomotive on train 307 Monday. The root cause analysis for that failure is underway to minimize the risk of further occurrences of this nature.



  • Andrew from Manassas asks
    Recently a large group of byciclest have been riding down observation drive and piper lane ever tuesday. They often ride I a large mass, blow through stop signs and make an already dangerous road much more dangerous. Is there a way vre could ask these cyclists to no ride down those roads at rush hour? It seems like the weekend would be a much safer time than rush hour.

    VRE Response
    We understand that putting cars and bicycles on the same road is a difficult situation. However, bicycles have the right to share the road with motor vehicles.

  • Kathy from Fredericksburg asks
    Yesterday morning there was major backup at Lenfant Plaza, however, VRE failed to inform it's riders via text and email. Please address what happened. Also, we were more than 30 minutes late and no FRCs were distributed.

    VRE Response
    There was a CSX software issue that affected both signals and switches at the last signal before entering the tunnel to Union Station. This issue had occurred all morning affecting trains by only a minute or two. A maintainer corrected the issue and when train 330 approached the signal the crew was asked to hand throw the switch which delayed 330 and caused congestion that affected 312, 332 and 314. Crews were asked to make announcements regarding the delay onboard the train.

  • David from Fredericksburg Va. asks
    I lost my April ticket and filled out the lost ticket information with a lady on the phone. I was told I had to wait until Wednesday after 3:00pm and go to Alexandria, King street office to pick up a new one, or if the mail it to my house it probably won't get there until Monday. In the mean time I have to purchase daily tickets to ride the train. My question is since I have the receipt showing that I bought the ticket why can't I use that until I get the replacement.

    VRE Response
    We require all passengers to have a valid ticket on their person in order to prevent fraud. If we allowed receipts as valid tickets, we cannot prevent one person using the ticket and another person using the receipt to ride. The conductor has no means of verifying that you are due for a replacement.  Also, there is a waiting period of up to 48 hours to give it time for your lost or misplaced ticket to show up in our lost & found.  The wait period is vital and if it doesn't show up then a reissue is normally granted with a proof of purchase after you have met the criteria.




  • frank jones from Atlanta, ga asks
    VRE is great for my business travel instead of renting a car. The major impediment for even more convenient schedules appears to be the Long Bridge replacement. Is the progress on its replacement on schedule? If not why ?

    VRE Response
    The Long Bridge is just one component of increasing train capacity in our service area. This project alone requires many stakeholders making sure their needs are met which includes not only us but also includes US DOT, DC DOT, VDOT, CSX, and the US Coast Guard. Right now studies are being completed for assessing future needs and how to proceed. The currently funded environmental and engineering studies underway will take several years to complete. Detailed engineering design and construction will follow. More information can be found at

  • Mark from Manassas Park, VA asks
    Regarding the Gainesville-Haymarket VRE extension, will the I-66 HOT express bus/carpool plan impact the ridership of current and potentially new VRE transit users in the Gainesville area? Will it be similar to the Woodbridge VRE(750 spaces - 66% Full) vs Horner Rd. Lot (2430 spaces full by 6:50AM) along I-95?

    VRE Response
    VRE is analyzing current and future Gainesville-Haymarket extension (GHX) ridership as part of the ongoing GHX study. We will consider the impacts of the I-66 HOT express bus/carpool plan on VRE ridership as part of that study. Attend the April 27 Community Meeting at Gainesville Middle School to learn more about the GHX study and preliminary alternatives for stations and service. See for study information.

  • Can I see you now from Falmouth, Virginia asks
    Daylight saving time is great for coming home, but it still is dark until 7 a.m. something. It is time to fix the station identification signs. You promised it would be rectified this year. What is the schedule for putting up station signs that can be read by people sitting on the lower deck. I still would like to have a word with the yahoo who came up with the present signage. Was it 4:20 when this idea was hatched?

    VRE Response
    Now that we have a new sign package that we can use, similar to the signage at Spotsylvania station, we have set a milestone target to update signage at other stations by mid 2017.  The next station planned to be updated will be the L'Enfant station.

  • Don from Fredericksburg, Virginia asks
    The free passes given out by the conductors expire in June 2016. Why give out the free passes when they expire in 3 months. Any chance the passes be extended.

    VRE Response
    We will begin issuing a new set of FRCs that will expire in 2018.  The current passes cannot be extended.

  • Gabe from Stafford VA asks
    Last Friday was a disaster with the switch problem at Union Station. Question is, once VRE trains got moving, there were three straight Manasass and two AMTRAC trains that passed through before the first Fredericksburg train passed, why?

    VRE Response
    Friday was a rough day for everyone coming in and out of Union Station.  Initially, a temporary fix allowed the first two trains to depart Union Station, those were Fredericksburg Line trains 303 and 305 (Departs Union Station at 3:10 and 3:25 respectively).  The temporary fix failed which resulted in the extended delay to the other trains.  When the switch issue was resolved, trains were sent out that had already made it down to the terminal.  This caused a shuffling of some of our trains because we have two Manassas line trains that turn at the terminal to make another run.  Our other trains were still in the storage yard, and could not immediately move down to the terminal because of the congestion.  In the interest of getting trains out to alleviate the congestion, trains were sent out as soon as they were capable of being released. 

  • Ted from Manassas Park asks
    Two requests: 1. Could you provide the wonderful lady at Union Station who assists VRE riders with a megaphone? When the gate area is crowded, it is very hard to hear her over all the noise. 2. Would it be possible to use the Train Talk Alerts to notify passengers of Track assignments at Union Station? Not everyone is capable of making a last minute dash to the track when the announcements are posted within a few minutes of departures, if they are posted at all.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Ted, we'll pass the comment on to Kim at Union Station, and if she feels a megaphone is necessary, we can certainly provide one.

    On the track assignments at Union Station, we don't receive those assignments any earlier than when they are posted at the station, usually only a few minutes prior to the train's arrival.  One of our goals in having Kim there is to improve both the timeliness and accuracy of the track information so rushing from one track to another isn't necessary.  We'll explore using Train Talk as a supplemental means of sharing the information, but it may not actually be an earlier notification.

  • Bob from Dumfries, VA asks
    When is formal "Root Cause" analysis per Service impact event going to properly implemented at VRE? Example are: repeated GPS failures and Major Switch failure last week. GPS hvae only been noted as to occurrence and prompt investigation- yet NO "root cause", corrective actions, and confirmed plan for Service impact avoidance has ever been stated. Same with last week's major Switch outage- only "what" happened, there still are NO statements as to "Root Cause", why does it repeatedly happen, what process will be changed to minimize/avoid future occurrences? Stating just "what" happened with apologies is NOT formal Service management or a proper Root Cause program.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Bob.  We do emphasize root cause analysis when incidents occur.  The switch issue you reference was an issue with the air system at Union Station.  Amtrak has done their investigation and presented a root cause analysis to us yesterday, along with steps they are taking to help make sure this doesn't happen again. Our mechanical crews are performing a root cause analysis on the fuel pump issue that affected our PM service on Monday, with the goal of preventing a similar occurrence on other locomotives.  While most of our communications are centered around the disruption and service recovery from the disruption, the analysis is always taking place in the days following the event.

  • Bob from Dumfries, VA asks
    After the introduction of the "new" and "enhanced" VRE website there have been multiple occurrences where this critical resource has been totally unavailable. After each outage, "crash", or "anomaly" there have been repeated assurances of immediate correction, extra capacity, and avoidance of future issues. This Web site outage has recently occurred AGAIN! last week- why has the VRE IT staff which has failed on ALL prior occasions still employed? Being a Sr. IT professional this type of repeated failure with empty assurances would not be tolerated!

    VRE Response
    We have developed a long-term plan to correct the issue which should be in place by the end of May.  As an interim fix, we have asked our current web hosting service to increase the server capabilities to handle spikes in demand like we experience during service disruptions, the temporary fix should be in place next week.  We apologize for the frustration this issue has caused.

  • Mike from Woodbridge asks
    I was one of the passengers stuck at Alexandria on 307 when it broke down on April 4. As part of your lessons learned, I would hope that you include making passengers aware of other options besides Metro. While sitting there waiting for 309 to arrive, a southbound Amtrak train pulled up. It would have been nice to have received notification from the VRE crew that it was coming so that we could have disembarked and purchased a step up fare.

    VRE Response
    Good point Mike.  We usually try to offer the cross honor Amtrak trains as an option.  In this case, the Amtrak train was 171 which runs down the Manassas line, so it would not have helped the Fredericksburg line passengers on 307 and 309.

  • Scott from Stafford, VA asks
    Why where yesterday's train talk alerts so messed up? The information on what the train was doing was on track at first, but then once the train was coupled and left the station, the remaining text messages that went out were out of date data. That just causes more confusion. While I'm at it, the conductors announcements added confusion as well. They should think about what they're about to say before causing more confusion.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Scott.  I just went through all of the messages that came out and it appears they came out in the correct order.  If you would, drop us a note through with any specifics and we'll ask the Communications staff to take a look.



  • Tina from Alexandria VA asks
    WAs the VRE broken down at anytime 3/4/2016 in Alexandria? At anytime?

    VRE Response
    If you mean 4/4/16 Tina, then yes we did have an issue with Train 307 (Departs Union Station at 4:10 PM) at the Alexandria station.  The locomotive had a fuel pump failure which required us to couple that train with the following Fredericksburg line train 309.

Welcome to another edition of the monthly Online Forum where VRE management, Rich Dalton, Deputy CEO & COO and Chris Henry, Director of Rail Operations, takes an hour to answer your service related questions. It is one of the many forums for customer interaction like the Meet the Management series we have at the inner city stations starting at Union Station on April 27.

We see there are many questions regarding the recent service disruptions. Again we apologize for any inconveniences caused and we take every opportunity to learn from these scenarios to make improvements in our service. Please know that during every service disruption, our main focus is to get you to your destination safely.

With that said, on to the questions!