As always, thanks for all the great questions.
With all the summertime vacations it is easy to get distracted. Please stay mindful on your commute so you and everyone else can get home safely. It is also a good idea to carry around some water with you to stay hydrated.
If your question was not answered, we answer all the comments and concerns that come into
Stay safe!
If the gates are down, stand your ground!
Rich, Chris, et al.
  • Ross from Springfield, VA asks
    I recall you were testing WiFi a few years ago-- is that still in the pipeline somewhere?

    VRE Response
    We have not identified a reliable, cost effective solution that we can present to our passengers, but we continue to work on this. 

  • David from Woodbridge asks
    Regarding Confused from Burke. I too have seen people open the vestibute doors to early prior to arriving a station and keep holding them open, not letting them close. Sometimes they hold them open while chatting the conductor. I don't like the doors staying open

    VRE Response
    We'll make sure all conductors are keeping the vestibule doors closed to help maintain the temperature in the car.

  • Ashley from Woodbridge asks
    I have read the bicycle rules, which states that one can only bring a bike onto the lead car. If there are already 2 bikes onboard, you must wait for the next train. My question, why do I see people with bikes getting on/off other train cars? I have seen bikes board 313 in the 2nd to last car, instead of the last as VRE rules states.

    VRE Response
    There is always a conductor at the northernmost car, which is why we load bicycles there. If the conductor determines there is enough room to have bicycles on other cars, he or she will assist in getting the bicycle to the proper location.

  • George from Broad Run asks
    Could you please tell us why we are rather recently learning that the Broad Run station is likely to be closed as a result of the extension to Haymarket? Seems as this was a remarkably closely held secret that I feel few of your current Broad Run passengers will view as favorable now that you have let us in on the secret. Please advise 1) why this must occur and 2) why we so recently learned about it please.

    VRE Response
    VRE is currently studying a possible extension to Haymarket and construction of up to 3 new stations. As part of that study, various alternatives are being analyzed for future service, including building the extension and eliminating service to the Broad Run station as well as not building the extension and expanding service to current Manassas Line stations. These two alternatives have evolved as the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension (GHX) study has advanced and have been publicly discussed at GHX community meetings and in information posted on the GHX web site at While VRE is considering the extension, no decisions on whether to close Broad Run and build the extension have been made. VRE riders with an interest in the extension and future Manassas Line service can sign up for information updates on the GHX web site.

  • Kevin from Springfield, VA asks
    Regarding the VRE Mobile ap (which I used for the first time to painlessly purchase a ticket), there seems to be an option to buy a ticket with money on a SmarTrip card. Can you tell me if it pays using Smart Benefits money or only money I've added myself (Stored Value)? Or is this question better suited to Metro or my transit benefits dept at work? Thanks!

    VRE Response
    You can absolutely use SmartBenefits toward VRE and use those funds within the app. You cannot transfer money already on your SmartTrip card to VRE, however. If you plan on using VRE next month, you can go into your SmartBenefits account and allocate that money to VRE through the app, but you must do so before the 21st of each month. 

  • Lynn from Bristow, VA asks
    I don't think that a conductor has checked my ticket in a month... I ride round trip daily from Broad Run to Alexandria. I always have my ticket but I have to imagine that some do not. How many people are actually cited for not having a valid and validated ticket?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Lynn. The conductors typically issue about 100 summonses per month, system-wide.  We expect the conductors to check tickets in every car, on every trip, of every train, unless their primary responsibilities of operating a safe train keep them from doing so.  Please drop us a note at with specific train and conductor information and we'll make sure it gets addressed.

  • Michael from Lorton, VA asks
    SafeTrack has impacted a lot of folks on the Fredericksburg Line. Case in point: at Lorton today, the regular surface lot was ENTIRELY filled prior to the regular wave of folks arriving for the 314. A lot of us had to park in a lot adjacent to the south end of the lot. While we didn't see any signs instructing us not to park (or that we would be towed), can you provide information on the best place to park at Lorton, while SafeTrack impacts the Blue Line and causes a lot of new (and temporary) riders to get on at Lorton? A lot of the people I talked to today were new riders who were getting on at Lorton, rather than taking metro from Springfield. Some help with the parking situation at Lorton for the next few days during this phase of SafeTrack would be GREATLY appreciated (as well as the parking situation there in general, as ridership will likely increase)!

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Michael. For these surges, we have focused on Franconia/Springfield and Alexandria. We know in about a month, Franconia and Van Dorn will have single tracking which we anticipate will affect Lorton. But we will go out to Lorton now and see what can be done.

  • Anthony from Midland, VA asks
    Just wanted to let you know that the iOS mobile app is terrific and please pass on my thanks to the project teams.

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Anthony. moovel NA will be glad to hear it! Of course, let us know if you have any suggestions.

  • Ryan from Warrenton, VA asks
    I catch the 328 train at Broad Run daily for the past year. A few weeks ago I noticed that my regular car now stops about 20 feet from where it used to. Is this due to a consist change or something else?

    VRE Response
    There has been no change to the consist within the last year.

  • Lost and Found from The dude that loses stuff asks
    Are all lost items collected at the King Street office? They were awesome when I left my backpack once, but I lost my sunglass case and wanted to know if small items were kept and for how long.

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Dude.  Everything comes to our offices in Alexandria.  Most items are kept for at least 30 days, though some items, like food, have to be discarded immediately.  Give us a call and we'll try to reunite you with your sunglass case.

  • 10 Ride Fares from Steve asks
    8% seems like a poor savings for buying 10 rides in advance. Any chance that fares will be adjusted? How does this ticketing method increase costs over a weekly (also 10 rides) especially with the AWESOME mobile app?

    VRE Response
    Pricing and discount levels were set prior to the launch of awesome VRE Mobile app.  The 10 ride ticket receives a smaller discount, but offers more flexibility to the user.  A five-day pass expires five days from the time it is validated, while a ride on a 10-ride ticket will remain available for one year from the time of purchase.

  • Olaf from Arrendale asks
    The ride this summer with Anna and Elsa was a lot of fun for the people that got tickets (like me), but it seems a shame so many people at the Manassas festival were not able to join us. The tickets were completely sold out but my car was easily 75% empty, likely more. Any chance for more tickets and/or on site sales?

    VRE Response
    We will pass this along to the folks at the Historic Manassas Festival (the sponsor of the event) and work with them to see if they feel they want to have more seats available for the event.

  • Larry from Broad Run asks
    Please let DOT know that the new Wawa station is causing traffic delays because VRE riders continue to block the box and drivers cannot enter the Wawa from Piper Lane.

    VRE Response
    We will pass along your comments to VDOT.

  • Lisa G from Alexandria, VA asks
    I'm a new VRE rider to the Metro track work. Can I extend the 5 day pass by one day. I just realized I need it today thru Friday and Tuesday and Wednesday. Any options to extend it one day.

    VRE Response
    Good question Lisa.  We're glad you're trying our service.  There's no way to add a day to a five-day pass, but we do offer a day pass that you can purchase for the single day.

  • David from Manassas, VA asks
    I noticed while riding a train, going south, just south of burke center that a tree branch hit the side of the car I was in. What is VRE, (or someone else) doing to keep trees off of the tracks?

    VRE Response
    Each railroad has maintenance vehicles that periodically go up and down the rails to trim trees for clearance.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Are the train crews not allowed to get off the train to clear the tracks such as a tree on tracks or other debris?

    VRE Response
    If it is safe to do so, train crews can remove small trees. In fact an Amtrak conductor helped remove trees off the track yesterday; however, if they need a chainsaw to clear the trees, they will wait for railroad crews to do that.

  • Blair from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why does CSX have speed restrictions south of Franconia/Springfield? Is track work going on this area because they've had speed restrictions in this area before and frequently.

    VRE Response
    Yes, there has been maintenance and capacity expansion projects going on south of Franconia/Springfield.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Chicago's Metra uses the same mobile ticketing app as VRE. However, their app features real-time train arrival/departure information called "Transit Tracker" Why doesn't VRE include this in the VRE mobile app

    VRE Response
    moovel, NA (ours and Metra's app developer) is working on that update as we speak. Look for it later this year, along with a new feature called RideTap.

  • Kelly from Spoytsylvania, VA. asks
    Are the trains ever power washed inside and out? I have noticed the same stains on the floor and dirty windows for months.

    VRE Response
    We clean the coaches on a daily basis with a deep clean about twice a year. Please email with your specific car number so we can address your specific issue.

  • john from manassas asks
    Your VRE app checkout is still hard to use. Always defaults to wrong smart benefits amount and wrong credit card. Takes awhile to open too and conductors are impatient almost rude sometimes.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for your comments. The app defaults to the rest of the SmartBenefits you have in your account as that is how most use them. The credit card it defaults to is the first one you used. You can delete the credit information you have saved and then re-enter the one you want to primarily use next time you purchase. In a recent update, the app opens to the "My Tickets" section (as long as you have tickets) so you can open your ticket quicker. When you see a conductor checking tickets, please have your ticket ready to show.

  • Joe from Woodbridge asks
    Yesterday trees fell across the tracks. This morning Train 308 broke down. So what? I got home last night and made it to work this morning. The conductors made sure we were safe and that's what matters most. Thanks, VRE.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment. We agree, safety is paramount and top priority is to get you home, or to work, safely.

  • Leeland to Quantico from Stafford asks
    As a rule, great service with the exception of a hiccup here and there. I am a bit disappointed however that there has been no Meet the Management at Leeland Rd or Quantico this year and I don't see either on the schedule. All Northern VA stations except Spotsylvania. What gives? Are Quantico, Brooke, Leeland and Fredericksburg patrons not valuable? Not EVERYONE goes all the way up the track. Many riders de-board at Quantico. Do we not deserve the same as those that go further north?

    VRE Response
    A few years ago, we focused the Meet the Management events on the destination stations from Franconia/Springfield up to Union Station.  This ensured we saw the vast majority of our passengers, though we do recognize, specifically on the Fredericksburg line, Quantico and Lorton are destinations for some who ride from the southern jurisdictions.  That's why we added some events over the past couple of years at those stations, including welcoming Ricks Roasters to Quantico and promoting VRE Mobile.  Those events allowed us the opportunity to be out there, pass out some snacks, and answer questions for the passengers we didn't see at Meet the Management.  We will continue to look for opportunities to have a presence at all our stations.

  • Cece from Manassas, Va asks
    The Mens and Ladies rooms at the Manassas Old Town VRE station are almost always without soap and paper towels, and always filthy. Health Safety issue. Can you assist?

    VRE Response
    Absolutely. We'll forward your concerns to the Historic Manassas group which staffs that station.

  • Mike from Manassas, VA asks
    I have regularly experienced exemplary service from the conductors and VRE staff. Is there any formal way to recognize VRE employees for all the good that they do on a daily basis? Thanks for all you do to make our commutes a pleasant experience!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comments Mike. If you have specific compliments  for an individual conductor, please forward those to, and we'll make sure the person gets recognized.

  • MJBucci from Leeland asks
    any thoughts of expanding the covered area at the Leeland platform towards the south end?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered.

  • John from Warrenton, VA asks
    Hi, I'm thankful for the service VRE provides. I know there is talk of express service as part of the Gainesville/Haymarket extension but I'm surprised that it isn't something already offered. For those of us who need to commute from Broad Run all the way to DC it's a pretty painful trip. I would greatly appreciate an express train within the 1-2 year time frame at most. I think this is a crucial service and want to stress this to VRE management as something to consider prior to completion of the Haymarket extension. Any additional information you can provide regarding this issue would be appreciated, thanks!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question John.  While we have no current plans for an express train on the Manassas Line, we do continue to monitor ridership patterns that may ultimately demonstrate a need for the service.  We are also modeling this as part of the Gainesville-Haymarket study.

  • Ricky from Leeland asks
    Please please please put a canopy for the Leeland Road platform in the upcoming budget. PLEASE.

    VRE Response
    An additional canopy is planned when the platform extension is funded. We hope this occurs within the next couple of years.

  • Pamela from Fredericksburg asks
    There's currently a rumor going around that VRE is exploring the possibility of an express train going southbound (Fredericksburg) in the afternoon. This train is supposedly going to make the same stops the morning express train makes. Is there any truth to that rumor, and if so, what time slot is being considered?

    VRE Response
    Just a rumor.  We have no plans to make a southbound express train at this time.

  • JL from Manassas asks
    Texting train delay updates that include only a URL, as VRE has started doing lately, does those of us without smartphones no good at all. Please go back to your former practice of giving a brief statement that *everyone* can read, along with a URL for further information. And a further request-- please do not respond to this message with a statement like "our survey shows that x percent of our rides have smartphones." Having a smartphone is a choice in our society, not a requirement, and implying that one is required to access basic VRE services is just plain wrong.

    VRE Response
    The text versions of our Train Talk Alerts should still have basic delay information. Including the URL for the full version is just an added benefit for those who wish to access the full alert. If this is not happening, we'll get it addressed immediately.

  • G from Stafford asks
    So I mentioned last month that no announcements about cars that make/miss the platform were being performed on the Southbound 303. Nothing has changed.

    VRE Response
    Chris says - Thanks for the comment G.  I ride 303 to Brooke several times per week and I always hear the announcements.  If you get a chance, drop me a note through with some additional information about which car you sit in, and we'll check the equipment.  I'll also reiterate with the crew the importance of consistency, but as I mentioned, I have not noticed this to be an issue.


  • Juanita from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Why don't you make the up top two seats Priority seating for seniors and disable because if there was an emergency rather than disrupt the flow of traffic it would be easier to make the two seats by the emergency windows Priority. Sometimes those of us who have devices such as a pacemaker/defibrillator we can sit next to someone with a cell phone because it may affect the calibration. Priority seating downstairs should have better marking because people sit in seats clearly marked on the window you need to have it on the seating. Please consider upstairs for priority seating.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the input Juanita.  Priority seating is on the lower level because the passengers who need the seating are often unable to climb the stairs.  If you need priority seating and are having trouble getting a seat, please ask the conductor for assistance. They'll be happy to help.

  • W from Woodbridge, VA asks
    These are courtesy reminders: I get hit with a backpack on a weekly basis and its getting old, cologne and perfume - please be mindful on how much you put on. Lastly - OPSEC - people can see what you are working on, texting and hear your conversations - I have seen and heard things that are borderline sensitive. Lastly, I saw a rider watching porn on his PC and the conductor laughed it off "it must be Game of Thrones" - there were children directly behind this guy.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comments W.  We'll share these as courtesy reminders.

  • Fred from Fairfax asks
    Would be interested to know what ridership has been during the Metro maintenance periods. Has there been a discernible increase in ridership?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered.

  • Dave from Manassas asks
    What was your ridership on the two July 4 trains?

    VRE Response
    Ridership was lower than expected for the Firecracker trains.  We knew demand would be less this year since Tuesday was a work day.  We operated 6-car trains with fewer crew members than the 8-car trains we have operated in the past.  Total ridership for the event was about 500.

  • Julie B. from Manassas asks
    I ride train 328 in the morning and I sit in the same car everyday (car 5). I've recently noticed that there are no announcements regarding when 328 reaches a short platform (Rolling Road, Blacklick Road, Crystal City, etc.). Would there be any specific reason for that? I'm not positive how long this has gone on for, but I know it's been a while. Thank you for any clarification.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Julie.  Anytime a train is approaching a platform that is too short to fit all cars, the conductors are required to make an announcement letting passengers know 1) which cars will not make the platform and 2) which way a passenger should walk to find an open door.  We will work with our conductors to ensure this occurs on each and every VRE train.

  • Jeff from Broad Run, VA asks
    With the Crystal City Metro Station shut down next week, is there any chance VRE would let Monthly riders with a ticket to zone 2 carry on to zone 1 so they can get past the metro shutdown?

    VRE Response
    Yes. While the Blue and Yellow lines are affected during surges 3 and 4 of Safe Track, we have instructed the conductors to allow passengers who normally ride to Crystal City continue on to L'Enfant to get their connection without penalty.

  • Thom from Fairfax, VA asks
    The Manasas northbound line used to be a lot more evenly spaced in the morning. Over the past eight years or so, trains have become much less evenly spaced with notable large 40 and 45 minute gaps between trains in the morning. For me at least, it can be inconvenient. We all miss a train sometimes, but I cannot afford to wait 40 or 45 minutes for a train, so when that happens I just drive in. Is this schedule due to NFS or rider preferences you received from feedback, and is it possible to even them out a bit better?

    VRE Response
    Great question Thom.  The time gaps between trains are determined by both demand, and the need to work with other train traffic.  While it may not be evident on the Manassas Line specifically, when both lines come together just south of Alexandria, our trains have to mix with both Amtrak and Freight trains.  We continue to work with all the railroads on our schedules.

  • David from Fredericksburg asks
    How come I always get notices about heat restrictions on the Fredericksburg line but never see any about the Manassas line?

    VRE Response
    The different railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, set their own policy on heat orders.  The Fredericksburg (CSX) line experiences more heat orders, not just because of the ambient temperature, but because of the volume of rail traffic on the line, which adds heat to the rail.

  • confused from Burke asks
    you are always stating that the conductors don't get around to doing certain things because of other duties. I am assuming by other duties you mean chatting with riders/friends and standing in the vestibules with other conductors chatting. We get yelled at for opening the doors early and just putting one foot into the vestibule. Yet as long as you are friends with the conductors it is ok to open the doors and chat. Conductors on my train anyhow would get a lot more respect if they did not have double standards and rule out of fear/threats. Not bashing all conductors you have many that do there jobs well but you also have a few that don't even come close.

    VRE Response
    The conductors should only be in the vestibule when their job functions require them to be.  Socializing is not one of those job functions.  The doors to the vestibules should remain closed because it keeps the air conditioning (heat in the Winter) in the body of the car.  If you see specific issues that need addressed, please contact us at

  • Obi Wan from Kingstown asks
    This is probably asking the impossible, but is it possible for Union Station to have both escalators going in the up direction when the VRE trains arrive and there are no Amtrack trains on the platform? 99% of the time in the morning, the down escalator serves no one, while VRE riders going up form yet another bottle neck.

    VRE Response
    There are some trains that leave Union Station in the morning, so there are times when the escalators need to be pointed down, however, we will ask the station manager to address your concerns.

  • Bill from Rippon asks
    What going on with the coach suspensions? Sounds like the springs are in need of greasing or something.

    VRE Response
    Rest assured, the creaking and moaning noises are not signs of damaged equipment or mechanical issues.  As an aesthetic practice to provide a more comfortable atmosphere for our passengers, we will add lubricant to each car as it goes through its annual maintenance cycle.

  • Dave from Manassas asks
    Has your ridership "surged" due to METRO segment shutdowns? More specifically this AM with the cut at National.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Dave.  During the first two SafeTrack surges, we saw some gain in ridership, primarily on the Manassas Line out of Burke Centre.  For surges 3 and 4, which affect the Blue and Yellow lines, we expect heavier than normal boarding at Franconia/Springfield and at Alexandria. Yesterday we saw just over 500 passengers board at those two stations while today we saw about 1,000 which is significantly higher than normal.

  • Terry from Rippon asks
    Is there a reason that 302 continues to be 5-7 minutes late arriving to/leaving from Quantico, Rippon and i'm sure other earlier stations? It's been this way since the new Spotsy station opened and we've been told it was related to track work south of Quantico, but it still seems to be an issue. A few weeks ago 302 was back to it's old ontime schedule but that lasted only a week or so.

    VRE Response
    Terry, there are still temporary speed restrictions on the railroad, now primarily between Brooke and Rippon due to third track work.

Welcome to another monthly edition of the VRE Online Forum, where senior VRE Operations Management, Rich Dalton, Deputy CEO/COO and Chris Henry Director of Rail Operations answer your service related questions for one hour.

We have seen some incremental ridership during SafeTrack Surge #1 and have seen many more riders this week as a result of SafeTrack Surge #3. Hopefully our new riders have joined us here today and can let us know about their experiences. We know our veteran ridership has welcomed them with open arms. One rider told us she missed her stop at Franconia/Springfield yesterday and a nice gentleman at Lorton brought her back.

Virginia has been selected for a federal FASTLANE grant of $165 million for its Atlantic Gateway project which means many improvements for road/rail along the I-95 corridor. This will definitely help us accomplish our goals for System Plan 2040.

Now on to the questions!