As always, thanks for the great questions. If you didn't have your question answered, please submit it to and we will get a response to you.

Remember there is no VRE service on Labor Day, September 5.

This month's safety tip: Look twice before crossing the tracks, there could be a train coming.

If the gates are down, hold your ground!

See you next month.

Rich, Chris, et al.

  • Daryl from Manassas asks
    Any updates on the ability to "park" trains at Le'fant? Sounds like once completed it could be a real fuel saver for VRE!

    VRE Response
    We hope to be parking trains at the L'Enfant Storage tracks by the end of the calendar year.

  • Troy from Springfield asks
    I am deaf and use the mobile app (it makes my life since conductors rarely ask for my disabled ID). I was wondering if there is any way for the LCD screen or something to visually notify people that conductors are checking tickets. I normally have to keep an eye out and not relax while riding.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for pointing this out, Troy. We will look into how we can improve this process.

  • Lori from Manassas Park, VA asks
    Can you remind passengers to stay quiet when there are announcements? A few weeks ago we were stuck at Alexandria for a long while and every time the conductor started explaining the delay over the PA system, there was a group of people talking so loudly we couldn't hear the announcements (then they talked loudly asking what the delay was all about!).

    VRE Response
    Courtesy reminder!

  • W from Woodbridge asks
    Suspicious Packages - a reminder to riders carrying goods they may look suspicious. A male last week had such an obvious suspicious package it was wrapped in wrinkled paper and taped pretty tacky. The conductor was quick to check it out and it was clothes he donates. Please be more aware of what you are carrying on board. A lot of law enforcement does ride the train and notices things like this. Use nice bags or wrap packages a bit more less obvious. Also - the quiet car signage is horrible - the clear is hardly readable and I had to remind tourists last week they were in the quiet car -- I recommend going back to the white signs. Thanks

    VRE Response
    Courtesy Reminder from a fellow passenger.

  • Amy B from Vienna,VA asks
    I'm looking to see when Santa Train tickets go on sale for December 2016. The information on the site is outdated. Any help is appreciated!

    VRE Response
    Hi Amy, tickets go on sale the Monday before Thanksgiving. We will be sure to update the site ASAP.


  • Francis from haymarket, Va asks
    The do's and don'ts recording with the Englishman's voice was effective and entertaining. Can you bring him back?

    VRE Response
    Hi Francis, while they are less frequent, we actually still do run this recording. We agree that it's effective. So keep listening--you might hear it again!

  • Douglas from Woodbridge VA asks
    What is the current status of extending the Manassas Line to Haymarket?

    VRE Response
    Please see for the latest information.

  • Jeff from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    I e-mailed a free ride certificate request form to on June 1st for a delay that occurred on May 27th and haven't received the ride certificate yet. Should I keep waiting or resubmit the request? Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Hi Jeff, thanks for checking in on this. We know the a batch of recent requests were sent out today, so keep an eye out for a of couple days. If you don't receive it in the next few days, you can resubmit your request. Thank you for your patience on this.

  • McKenna from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Has the smoking policy changed or is it still only allowed on the north end of the platforms? Every morning there is a gentleman chain smoking at the south end of the Fredericksburg platform until train 312 arrives. If the policy has not changed, can you please remind riders to use the north end, and perhaps have the conductors enforce if they see it?

    VRE Response
    Hi McKenna, the policy has not changed. We will definitely include a courtesy reminder in RIDE Magazine on this and push it out through our other communication channels. We will also ask Keolis staff to remedy this if/when they see it. Thank you for letting us know.

  • Pamela from Fredericksburg asks
    Last question: Will Amtrack start stopping at Spotsylvania, now that the new station is up?

    VRE Response
    Not in the near future because there is no switch on the south end that connects to the mainline tracks.

  • Pamela from Fredericksburg asks
    To truly be an express train, consideration needs to be made concerning the current existing stops. For instance, Leland Road and Brooke are so close you could theoretically do away with one of those stops as well as Rippon and Woodbridge. One of those two can go as well. Add Franconia Springfield and remove King Street. Will you consider those changes? And, please don't say no without at least exploring the possibilities and what those changes may mean for your ridership.

    VRE Response
    Sorry Pamela, the stops train 300 currently makes were all chosen for a reason.  The train does not stop at Rippon as you state, and Alexandria is a major destination station for our passengers.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why is MARC able to add extra cars to trains when crowded and VRE is not? VRE does have several cars out of service that could be put in service to make longer trains

    VRE Response
    Sorry David, we can't speak for MARC, but we do not have extra cars nor do we have the space to park extra cars at this time.

  • Pamela from Fredericksburg asks
    Is consideration being given to an express train southbound on the Fredericksburg line in the afternoon?

    VRE Response
    We do not have this in our immediate plans.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    When will these daily heat restrictions stop? Now that temperature has gotten cooler (below 90), we don't need them. As a result, VRE's on time performance has dropped in July due to all the delays caused by speed restrictions

    VRE Response
    Heat restrictions are in place due to forces within the track with high rail temperatures and rail expansion. The speed restriction is placed by the engineering department to reduce train-to-track forces with the high rail temperature.

    BTW: There are no Heat Restrictions today.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Courtesy comment: When I get on Train #306 in the mornings, I see some people sitting in one seat and put their bag on the seat next to them as if they blocking people from sitting next to them. People you can't be doing that, especially when the train is crowded

    VRE Response
    Thanks David, this is a great courtesy reminder since the issue will be even more important as our ridership increases. The conductors should be addressing this as they pass through the train as well.

  • SpotsyMan from Spotsylvania asks
    Greetings. Is there a way that the conductor can check for a VRE Mobile ticket and avoid having to disturb the passenger while asleep? I'm asking for some sort of automation or solution in lieu of a passenger having to display a paper ticket.

    VRE Response
    See previously answered question.

  • Tanya from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Showing a mobile ticket to the conductor is a problem. The conductor does not get to you when boarding, and usually has to wake folks to see the pass. What can be done to allow mobile users more nap time? It makes me want a paper ticket instead so I can sleep!

    VRE Response
    We understand your concerns and are free to switch back to paper tickets if it is more convenient for you. At this time, there is not a way to check mobile tickets without showing your phone. However, if you are so inclined, you could buy a phone lanyard, change your settings so the screen never shuts off, buy a battery pack and leave it on the ticket screen. Not the most elegant solution, but maybe worth a try.

  • Mike from Manassas Park asks
    In this morning's magazine, you asked for ideas for articles. What about highlighting some of your riders? I've know I've seen a lady on #330 who would make very beautiful cross stitching on her train rides. There is also a guy on #331 who i've seen drawing conic strips on his rides.

    VRE Response
    Great idea Mike.  We have done rider profiles in the past and will look to do that once again, though we will need help from riders to identify people to be profiled in the magazine. Thank you for getting that ball rolling!

  • Cameron from Woodbridge, Va asks
    What's the deal with the old train cars? No AC, uncomfortable seats, malfunctioning doors that slam shut, water leaks, etc. Any idea when those week be replaced?

    VRE Response
    We have 5 new cars scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2017 which will allow us to replace the remaining legacy cars in the fleet.

  • A Little Annoyed from Broad Run asks
    The same old que-balls are getting up too early; and blocking the exit for passengers trying to de-train. And THEN they have the nerve to make rude comments at them; especially at Crystal City and Le'fant Plaza. If a person just happens to realize they are about to miss their stop; they shouldn't have to try to dive through the crowd standing at the door!

    VRE Response
    Thank you for letting us know. We will continue to put out courtesy reminders on this via social media, Train Talk, and RIDE Magazine. Additionally, we will ask the train crews to keep an eye on this situation.

  • Lori from Manassas Park, VA asks
    Is there any hope of MARC taking VRE TLC tickets again?

    VRE Response
    Not at this time.

  • David from Burke, VA asks
    I have several expired Transit-Link cards... can these be recycled or reused on Metro and/or by VRE?

    VRE Response
    If it is the SmarTrip card which has the TLC sticker, the card itself can be recycled/reused as a regular SmarTrip card.  Check with CommuterDirect, who issues the TLCs.  They can give you the best option for recycling.

    Commuter Direct
    P.O. Box 12176
    Arlington, VA 22219
    (703) 228-RIDE (7433)

  • Ru from Rippon asks
    What is the status of the repair at Rippon?

    VRE Response
    The Rippon elevator will be addressed once work at Franconia/Springfield is complete.

  • JL from Manassas asks
    Last month I requested that you stop sending only a tiny URL in your messages about train delays, and you said that you would. Someone hasn't gotten the message. See messages sent on July 25th if you need evidence. *Please* stop ignoring your customers who do not have smartphones. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    You are right, JL.  It appears one of the staff is still using the short url.  We'll address it again with everyone in our communications room.  If you notice this again, please drop us a note at and we'll get the message fixed right away.  We apologize for this oversight.

  • Lora from Manassas asks
    I would like to commend all of the conductors on the Manassas line for helping me with my knee scooter. I broke my foot 6 weeks ago and they have gone out of their way to make sure I get on and off the train and in doing so engage in pleasant conversation. They have made what otherwise would be a dreadful commute one that is enjoyable. Thanks from "Scooter Magruder".

    VRE Response
    Thanks "Scooter", we'll share this with the crews and their supervisors.

  • Gary from Backlick Road asks
    The trains have become really crowded as a result of the metro work. Do you have the capability to add cars to some of the trains to alleviate standing room only. My sense is that many of these metro riders will stay with us because this is by far the superior option. Also, has anyone heard from Dale recently, how is he doing in retirement. Keep up the good work!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the questions Gary.  We do not currently have the ability to add cars to lengthen trans, but we are watching the ridership numbers daily to see if we need to move some of the longer consists to different slots.  Once the summer vacationers come back to work, we'll be able to better predict what the ridership will look like in the fall and will make adjustments as necessary.  We hope to retain some of the Metro riders and appreciate our veteran riders assisting with questions about the system.

    We saw Dale at the end of last year and he's doing well, thanks for asking.

  • Richard from Bristow asks
    Two concerns, first, train #324 is pulling up late and leaving late more often, is this complacency or is there something more involved? Second, Piper Lane and the frontage road are becoming more in disrepair with undulating ground, potholes and unleveled patches, what is the status of better repair?

    VRE Response
    Please see the previous response about the pre-trip job briefings.  The 324 crew has the tightest schedule between the time when they sign on and their scheduled departure, but they should not be departing late.  We'll follow-up with Keolis to make sure this is not an issue.

    We will share your concerns about Piper Lane with VDOT and Prince William County.

  • William from Broad Run asks
    Thinking back to your and your predecessor's comments about bringing the trains up to the station a little early before departure at Broad Run, a much-appreciated practice, we are now seeing a substantial throttling back of this service, now replaced by the old Amtrak way of generally bringing up the trains just in time to avoid being late; these memories of Amtrak are not fond memories. Do you intend to make good on your prior promises or can we expect the old Amtrak way as the new norm? Before you respond with your customary 'all is well' response, would you agree to look at the historical and current records of timeliness? Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the comments William.  The ability to bring trains up to the Broad Run, and now Spotsylvania platforms early is a nice convenience, when we are able to do so.  There has been no intentional effort to stop the practice, it is simply a function of when the crews finish their pre-trip job briefing and preparations.  There is a significant amount of work taking place on the railroads this time of year, which means there are more items to be covered in the job briefings.  We have also been utilizing that time for refresher training of the crews.  There should be no reason to depart the initial station late, but the idle time at those stations may be less than what you have become accustomed to.

  • from Manassas Line asks
    Currently there are multiple times for the Fredricksburg Line heading south starting at 300pm to 420pm (303, 305, Amtrak 95 and 307). For the Manassas Line heading south there is still only 327 for that time frame. Is there anyway an additional Manassas train heading south during that time frame could be added or can you move 327 up 10-15 minutes? Right now the Manassas Line is being treated like the step child.

    VRE Response
    When we are able to add service on the Manassas Line, we will make every effort to add a train in that window of time, but we have no immediate plans to do so.

  • Big D from WB asks
    People are still crossing rt. 1 to Occoquan road illegally from the right lane before 5pm each afternoon/evening. Each day there are always close calls due to these same offenders. If you'd like I can post their type of car/truck and also their tag numbers in the future. Can you please have PW County Police monitor?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Big D, we'll let PWC know the issue remains a concern.

  • Dan from Haymarket asks
    Broad Run parking s till up for remarking this Summer?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Dan.  We're doing several things at Broad Run, including working with a traffic engineer from Prince William County to discuss traffic flow and signage.  The actual sealing and painting will probably happen over a couple of weekends in September.

  • Christine from Stafford, VA asks
    Please consider adding much better signage in the quiet car. Signage in every other window and the entrance doors is totally insufficient. There are way too many tourists and new riders who either don't know or don't care that they are in the quiet car. I, and other riders, have had to confront riders about their conversations on a regular basis. Please put signs on the back of each seat. And, the conductors should advise travelers that they are stepping into the quiet car if the conductor is positioned at those doors during station stops.

    VRE Response
    Sorry Christine, the signage has to remain as is.  The actual car may be cycled out for maintenance and then utilized in another train set, so the signage has to be easily removed and easily placed in the replacement car.  We'll ask the conductors who work a platform from the quiet car to let folks know as they board.

  • Christine from Stafford, VA asks
    Can you please request that the Brooke Station be repainted? The STOP signage is extremely faded and too many drivers ignore the fact that it is a three way stop.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Christine, the stop bars were all repainted this week.

  • Dave from Manassas asks
    Why has CSXT removed the third track from service at L'Enfant. It's less than 10 years old. It provides a bypass for freight trains.

    VRE Response
    Brian says, All three tracks at L'Enfant are being individually removed from service, so that work can be performed to lower the tracks to increase clearances for double stack intermodal trains, which are taller trains that can hold more freight. This project increases the already efficient mode of freight rail transportation and will assist in removing traffic from the interstates. Two of the three tracks have been completed. This work is being done in conjunction with the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project.

  • Andrew from Manassas Park, VA asks
    What happened to the ticket machines? I had three 10-ride tickets become unreadable when I tried to validate in July.

    VRE Response
    There have been some isolated incidents with the read/write heads in the ticketing mechanism that has resulted in the magnetic stripe data being erased.  If this occurs again, please note the ticket vending machine number and we'll get the heads replaced.

  • Mary from Manassas Park asks
    I was on the mid day train last Friday and was taking a picture of the Potomac River when the female conductor informed me photography was prohibitive while on the train. I was hoping you could explain why? Doesn't seem like a safety issue.

    VRE Response
    Photography is permitted on the trains unless it is a threat to safety. You are allowed (even encouraged!) to take photos of your train and the views you enjoy along your trip. However, please respect other passengers who may not want their photo taken.

  • Jason from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Train 302 is scheduled to leave Fredericksburg at 5:15am and leave Quantico at 5:40am. On a daily basis, the train is 2-4 minutes late leaving Fredericksburg and 4-9 minutes late leaving Quantico. It has never met the scheduled time since the Spotsylvania station was added. Are there plans to adjust the schedule (maybe, have Train 300 leave a couple of minutes earlier) to make the schedule more accurate?

    VRE Response
    With the third track work now substantially complete between Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg, we are better able to get an accurate travel time between the first two stations.  The 8 minutes that we originally put in the schedule is not quite enough time, so we will be looking to make an adjustment which will allow the trains to depart Fredericksburg on time.

Thank you for joining us for another monthly edition of the VRE Online Forum where senior operations management, Rich Dalton, Deputy CEO/COO and Chris Henry, Director of Rail Operations, answer your questions for the next hour. We also have two special guests 1) CSX Transportation, Brian Barton, the Trainmaster for our service area, and 2) Station Manager for Amtrak, Kim Combs can answer questions you may have.

We appreciate everyone's patience as we saw an influx of new riders last month and welcome to those who tried us out and stayed. Although somehwat cooler today, it has been hot the last week just like the questions that are burning to be answered.

With that said, let's begin!