Thanks for another round of great questions!

VRE is working with our partners in the region to coordinate messaging about commuting alternatives during Metrorail’s critical maintenance efforts and will also get the message out to potential new riders about how to ride VRE. We strongly suggest all riders, current and new, consider using the VRE Mobile app to purchase and validate your tickets. New and additional riders can slow down sales and validation at station Ticket Vending Machines (TVM). You can avoid the long lines at the TVM by simply using VRE Mobile. Information about how to download and use the mobile app, including how to use Federal Transit Benefits to purchase tickets, is available on our website at or by calling VRE customer service at 800-RIDE-VRE (743-3873).

The Manassas Rail Festival will take place on this Saturday, June 4th.

Stay tuned for updates regarding Firecracker trains. We hope to confirm details later this week.

We look forward to seeing you at Meet the Management at Franconia/Springfield!

Rich, Chris et al

  • Jim from Rippon asks
    Last week was bad for Rippon riders. Monday 312 train had mechanincal issues. Me and my wife had to go home and work from there. Then Friday going home. Never got FRC for both incidents.

    VRE Response
    To obtain a FRC for the incident your are speaking of visit for instructions.

  • Robert from Burke asks
    FYI - The bus turnaround at Burke Centre has become a problem again. Cars are still using it as pickup and dropoff. I don't think they know that cars exiting the lot by the baseball field have already stopped at the stop sign, cars exiting the turnaround don't have the right of way. With baseball games going on and the nearby pool opening the traffic has increased but cars improperly using the turnaround are still pull out at will.

    VRE Response
    We'll pass this on to Fairfax County.  Thanks for the input.

  • from Union Station asks
    You opened Metro option early Friday, however, what was the plan to get everyone home who lives past the last Metro stop?

    VRE Response
    The Metro option does not necessarily work for everyone, however, there are those passengers who may opt to seek alternate transportation and getting to Franconia/Springfield or some other station may enable them to do so.  On Friday, it also allowed passengers to get to Alexandria where they could catch the trains that were already south of the river.

  • Raymond from Spotsy asks
    Why can't we use Amtrak step-ups with an FRC? I was given four to replace the balance on a damaged ten-trip. Amtrak gets the same $10 anyway, right?

    VRE Response
    In short, our cross-honor agreement with Amtrak will not allow FRC's and Day passes accompanied by a step-up ticket.

  • Betty from Manassas asks
    During the Meet the Management at L'Enfant I mentioned to staff there that part of the grassy area behind the railing should get paved so we won't have to walk in the mud. The platform is very packed and will only get more packed in the future. Have you all thought about pouring a sidewalk?

    VRE Response
    Yes, we are evaluating this idea.

  • Fred from Fredericksburg asks
    If I buy a Fredericksburg Line ticket between Alexandria and Union Station, can I use it on a Manassas line train?

    VRE Response
    Yes Fred, those stations are serviced by both lines, so any Zone 2 to Zone 1 ticket can be used on any of our trains.

  • Brian from Woodbridge asks
    I read the response to another rider about the WiFi. Funny that when I use a step up and ride Amtrak from Union Station to Woodbridge, I work on my laptop all the way without interruption from DC to Woodbridge on Amtrak's WiFi network. Maybe you could find out how they do it? Even if the service was only available from Woodbridge to DC, I am sure many riders would benefit, unless there is another reason you are not installing it and will not tell us!

    VRE Response
    Brian, no hidden agendas here.  We don't have WiFi because we cannot guarantee quality service throughout our service area.  For VRE the gaps in service would extend from Fredericksburg up to Quantico and then would be questionable through Rippon.  Amtrak has the same coverage issues in the same areas, but since it is a very small segment of their overall system, they are willing to accept the dead spots.

  • Cheryl from Manassas Park, VA asks
    Why were there no email updates during Friday's disruptions? I sat on a train waiting to depart Union Station for nearly an hour before I decided to Uber home.

    VRE Response
    Hi Cheryl, thanks for the question.  We're not sure why you did not receive email messages, but there were certainly many sent throughout the entire evening.  We did notice that on some Verizon phones, if you are on the phone, you cannot simultaneously receive email messages.  If that is not the issue, then please send an email to us at and we'll check your subscription status.

  • DP from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Two questions: 1. I submitted form for FRC yesterday for Friday delays but haven't heard back. Are we going to get one? 2. Last week I got to my office and realized my cell phone was missing. I wasn't sure if I left it on the train or dropped it on my walk to the office. I called VRE office and they said since I was in the upper level and the conductors sweeping through after parking probably won't be able to catch it, most likely it would be 24 hours when I would hear back. The policy is that the conductors have to leave the train after they park. Surely there is a better way you can handle this for something valuable as cell phone (plus I had my debit/credit cards and license in there) which would cause less anxiety if we had to wait 24 hours. Luckily for me, a gentleman had picked it up and since he didn't see any conductor he had it with him when I tried calling my number. Just wanted to bring this up so you can change your policy about how you handle such situation.

    VRE Response
    Thanks DP -

    1. as you can imagine, we have received quite a few FRC requests, so we'll get through them as quickly as possible.

    2. The conductors do sweep the train prior to the end of their shift.  We also have a cleaning crew who sweep the train after each trip.  If an item is found, it goes into our Lost and Found System where it is documented and sent by courier to our main office.  Since another passenger found your phone and took it, there was no opportunity for the system to work.

  • Dave from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Does VRE have plans to upgrade the lighting system at L'Enfant Plaza? It still has the old lights and since you are replacing the canopy, you might as well replace the lights

    VRE Response
    We have an active project to replace the lighting at all stations with the new LED lights.  The schedule for each station depends on the availability of funding.

  • Dave from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why is their a speed restriction south of Lorton where trains slow down to 5-10 mph? It's been there for weeks, so CSX needs to get rid of it. There is no reason to go so slow.

    VRE Response
    CSX will impose speed restrictions at locations, and for durations, necessary to perform maintenance and other safety related work.

  • Brad from Opal VA asks
    By holding public meetings about the Gainesville Haymarket extension exclusively in the Gainesville area VRE is causing a bias in the public input --- favoring realignment to Haymarket and closure of Broad Run station. When will VRE hold public meetings in communities adjacent to Broad Run station to give the public in that area a fair chance to provide input to the decisions?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Brad. We'll pass your comments on to the GHX team.

  • Lora from Manassas asks
    I just wanted to express my appreciation for all of the conductors on the Manassas line. They are friendly, professional and courteous and make the commute enjoyable.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the compliment! Your comment will be passed along to the conductor's supervisor.

  • Diana from Catlett, Virginia asks
    Is there going to be a better way to communicate to passengers regarding transportation choices and options for riders regardless of the cause of incident(s) that effect the trains? And to let them know what the real problem is, that effects the trains? I was not sure that the Manassas train would wait for those taking metro to Alexandria. It takes at least an hour to get there and it was a holiday weekend. We were told the trains were suspended among other things. Friday May 27 fiasco was unacceptable. I didn't get to Manassas until 9:00 pm. The last thing we were told was that the train was not going further than Manassas. It went to Broad run where i needed to go but, i was waiting for my ride.

    VRE Response
    As mentioned earlier, Friday was a challenge all the way around.  We were trying to give passengers the best opportunity to get southbound transportation, and we knew that trains were not moving out of Union Station.  Therefore, we suggested that folks take Metro to Alexandria to catch one of the trains we were turning.

    All southbound trains go to Broad Run, so there would have been no reason to tell you otherwise.

  • Jim from Burke VA asks
    Conductors did not distribute FRCs in my car on the evening of 5/27. Did not see them on the evening of the Friday delay a number of weeks ago either. The conductor last night said to contact VRE. Is this the new procedure?

    VRE Response
    The procedure is not new. It is possible that the conductor did not get a chance to hand out FRC's in the event of other pressing issues. If you do not receive one on the day/night of the service disruption, the procedure is that you contact VRE with a FRC request form to obtain your free ride certificate. The information can be found at

  • George from Haymarket asks
    How many new cars are on order and when will they be delivered?

    VRE Response
    Our next 5 cars are scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2017.  Those cars will replace the remaining legacy cars in the fleet.  The next batch of 9 expansion cars will begin arriving in calendar year 2018 and 2019 and will be used to lengthen existing trains.

  • Merriam from Manassas asks
    When will VRE add express trains to the Manassas Line, bypassing the station stops between Manassas Park and Alexandria?

    VRE Response
    We are analyzing several operating plan options, including limited express trains, on the Manassas Line as part of the Gainesville to Haymarket study.

  • Deirdre from Warrenton asks
    Is any consideration being given to extending VRE service further South of Haymarket to Delaplane?

    VRE Response
    The boundaries for the current study do not anticipate service beyond Haymarket. For more information regarding the study please visit our website at

  • Hugh Sellers from Culpeper, VA asks
    Will the Gainesville/ Haymarket extension of the Manassas Line result in the closure of the Broad Run station or curtailment of service to it?

    VRE Response
    The Gainesville/Haymarket extension study is currently reviewing several operating scenarios. Nothing has been concluded. For more information and periodic updates, please visit

  • Bob Huggins from Alexandria, VA asks
    What is the point of these forums? You and your staff selectively pick the topics and questions chosen, which presents a biased view of VRE. There have been several "tough" questions I have asked over the years, which have been ignored. Essentially this forum is a joke.This also goes for the yearly rate hike forums that you provide around the area. What's the point of asking people their opinions when you're going to hike the rate anyways.

    VRE Response
    Bob, we do our best to answer every question on the forum.  There are, however, questions that are duplicates or which have been answered as part of another response.  Those questions are not answered.  In addition, there are questions and comments which are inappropriate for a number of reasons and will not be published.

    We are required to hold public hearings anytime there is a fare increase or a major service change.  We do not have a fare increase or major service changes for our FY2017 (starting July 1, 2016) so no public hearings this year.

  • Reggie from Stafford, Virginia asks

    VRE Response
    Thanks Reggie, as we increase the number of trains we run and the number of stations, we will be looking at ways to adjust schedules to keep the trains running as efficiently as possible and provide ample seats.

    We have no current plans to expand further south than Spotsylvania.

  • Anonymous from Manassas asks
    I would like to know if there is a way to lower the air conditioning slightly. I understand that there are equipment that needs to be a certain temperature level. I believe at times its a tad bit too chilly.

    VRE Response
    We are currently performing routine checks to ensure the air conditioning systems are operating correctly now that the ambient conditions are more like summer. If corrections are needed, we will make them.

  • Mike from Manassas Park, VA asks
    I'd like to know what this actually means: "VRE's FY2015-2020 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will expand system capacity to carry up to 25,000 riders per day." -- Longer train would be great, but more frequent train options morning and night would be better. While train frequency is lacking, the most desperate need are more routes than Broad Run and Fredericksburg.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Mike,

    The ability to carry more passengers by 2020 is based on added capacity through lengthening our current trains.  Additional trains, and more frequent options are part of the longer term System Plan 2040.

  • G from Stafford asks
    Are conductors required to make announcements prior to arriving at a station (track, cars that make platform)? I ride the 302 in the morning, and announcements are made prior to each stop. In the evening, I ride the 303, and never hear any announcements.

    VRE Response
    There are recorded messages that play announcing the arrival into a station.  If the train cannot put all doors on the platform, the conductors are required to announce which cars will or will not make the platform so passengers have enough time to walk to the correct car.

    Thanks for the feedback on 303. We will work to get this addressed.

  • Chad from Fairfax asks
    Is VRE taking any specific actions to plan for increased ridership during the impending Metro repair plan?

    VRE Response
    We will be operating with all of our trains with the maximum available capacity during the impending Metro repair plan.

  • Leslie from Burke asks
    Could drivers using the Burke Centre parking deck please follow the signage and not drive the wrong way down on-way aisles? I have almost been hit twice on two mornings within the last month, by people driving the wrong way down the center aisle on the second level. In one case, the woman driving started screaming and yelling at me as if I were the one in the wrong when I was doing was making a legal left turn from the exterior aisle. The center aisle is clearly marked with painted arrows and "wrong way" signs. Follow them.

    VRE Response
    Good points Leslie.  We'll share with Fairfax County.

  • Joe from Woodbridge, VA asks
    No Question--Just expressing gratitude to the lady conductor on the southbound 305 on Friday, 27 May. The situation was hectic due to the delays as a result of a fire on the tracks, congestion, heat, and frayed passenger nerves. The conductor kept everyone calm and continuously informed. More importantly, she got us home safely. That's what counts. My thanks to a real professional.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Joe, we'll pass the comment on to her supervisors. Our number one priority is safety.

  • Harley Q from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Despite the mess on Friday, your staff who answered the phones were so nice and helpful. They really did a good job working under pressure.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the comment Harley.  We'll pass it on.

  • Mike from Manassas VA asks
    i was at L'enfant plaza last friday and i didn't receive any update about go to crystal city to take the manassas train, why that was no update sent out about that?

    VRE Response
    Sorry Mike.  Our plan was to be able to turn the two Manassas Line trains at L'Enfant, but then the heat kink forced us to turn them at Crystal City.  Not sure there would have been time for you to get down there, but either way, we apologize for the omission.

  • Kari from Fred asks
    A few years ago we were told that all lines would have the new cars. My question is when I am riding the last train from Fredericksburg every day and am a bit disappointed that I have a old rusty, dingy and quite frankly smelly cars? Whalen are we getting our upgrade?

    VRE Response
    The next set of new cars is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2017.  Those cars will replace the remaining legacy cars in operation. We are as anxious as you to have a full fleet of the Gallery IV cars.

  • Doug from Broad Run asks
    Two questions: 1 - Why does the online forum not appear in the archive until several days (almost a week the last three months) after it is conducted? 2 - When is VRE/Police going to get serious about the traffic in the Broad Run parking lot? Speeding, driving wrong way in a one way lane, running stop signs, etc. are going to cause accidents or injuries sooner rather than later.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Doug.  We just discussed the Broad Run traffic in the last question.  The Online Forum should be automatically posting to the archive at 12:01 pm.  We'll work with the developers to make sure this is happening.

  • Bridget from asks
    In regards to Broad Run drivers, I like many other drivers/pedestrians have concerns about the drivers there. I usually walk with the same group of people off the train to the direction of my car, and have noticed that a second stop sign was put in place. That's fantastic except that I know witness people driving through that additional stop sign. Following up with that comment, how does that get reported to the police? Not trying to put blame on anyone, but either you all don't call it in or the PWC police don't care for the safety of people. Either way it's bad.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Bridget.  Our Manager of Safety and Security is in frequent contact with PWC on the traffic concerns at Broad Run.  While we cannot enforce traffic rules in the lot, we are happy to continuously share these comments with the proper officials, and emphasize the concerns to our riders.

  • Richard from Broad Run asks
    In the last several weeks arriving trains at Broad Run have adopted a 1-2 mph approach for the last quarter mile or so, taking far longer to get to the station than the trains used to, making many arrivals 5-10 minutes or more late. Is there a reason for this new slow approach and is this going to be permanent? If permanent are you going to adjust the schedule to allow for this, further diminishing our expectations?

    VRE Response
    There is a 5 mile per hour speed limit on the lead going into the Broad Run station, so you should notice a slowdown as they make that move.  It should not be affecting the schedule, but we'll keep an eye on it.

  • Steve from Nokesville, VA asks
    How do conductors get trained? It appears they all have different methods when doing their job; some put out messages regarding short platforms, some walk to the upper part of the cars when checking tickets, some will let people running to the train on, some will hide in sections away from passengers on early trains. I know personality can play a part, and if the conductor is doing their job fine, but some of those things don't appear to be really subjective aspects of their jobs.

    VRE Response
    Good question Steve.  The crews are all trained in the exact same manner, and we require consistency across the board on issues related to safety.  Other issues like announcements and other messages should also be consistent.  On things like fare inspection, you will see conductors utilize different methods.  If you notice any specific differences that you feel is not warranted, please send us the details at and we'll address it with the specific conductor.

  • Brandon from Manassas, VA asks
    I want to commend VRE on Friday for providing us with the Metro option early. I also saw that they did bring in the Broad run train also very commendable. My question is why isn't the bus from Tyson's free? Also, is there something on the VRE website that you can insert so that people know about taking this alternative when VRE is not working properly?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Brandon, we took the suggestion to open the Metro option early based on comments received in a past Online Forum.  We'll look into the Tyson's bus to see if we can make that an alternative during service disruptions.

  • David from Fredericksburg Va. asks
    Having to trains run late last Friday was understandable, you guys had a lot going on and none of it good. What made you look realy bad was that when the Manasas line train pulled into the station an hour late and very crowded half the people waiting on the platform got on. Another train was waiting immediately behind this one. When tat train pulled up the conductor switched the signage from union station to Manassas! People started yelling to him "where's the Fredericksburg line train?" He ingnored everyone and just kept calling for Manassas passangers! A grand total of 4 people got on this mostly empty train. About 45 minutes later a Fredericksburg train finally showed up. That one conductor really pissed a lot of people off.

    VRE Response
    Again, Friday was a challenge.  The first train out of Union Station was a Fredericksburg Line train, the other two trains were a reverse flow Manassas Line train on its way back to Union Station to turn again for the evening service, and a deadhead train that was being moved from midday storage at Broad Run up to Union Station to turn for the PM service.  Since we could not get the trains into the terminal at Union Station, we opted to turn them and at least give the Manassas Line riders a southbound option.  That helped clear some of the congestion, and allowed some folks to head south.  The trains cannot be arbitrarily changed to operate on a different lines.

  • Joe from Woodbridge asks
    I still do not know why VRE hands our FRC tickets to monthly ticket holders for the delayed trains? If someone routinely purchases monthly VRE tickets, they cannot benefit from those FRE tickets. It helps and rewards people that ride less frequently on day or 10 trip tickets, because they can use them for single rides, while it does not offer any benefit or compensation to someone always riding on a monthly pass. Other passengers brought this up in the past, and you seem to not care to come up with any other solution for the loyal customer/riders riding every day. Why have a system that is more rewarding to the part time rider, and not offer a benefit to the frequent rider?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment Joe, we have heard this in the past, but our options are limited.  A Free Ride Certificate is offered to replace the ride which experienced the delay.  We usually suggest that monthly pass holders use the FRC's for friends or family, or use them in periods where they take vacations and do not need a full monthly.  You can also place FRC's in a place where you do not carry your monthly pass in the event you forget or misplace your monthly pass.

  • Anonymous from Franconia asks
    With all the Metro rail issues has there been any thought to adding service to the VRE at other times including weekends?

    VRE Response
    While we do expect to see some ridership increases during our regular service, we have no plans to add service during different times or on weekends.

  • David from Woodbridge, Va asks
    Do you all anticipate more people riding the VRE now that work will begin on Metro starting next week? Will additional cars be added to some of the trains?

    VRE Response
    We do expect some increased ridership, but we do not have the ability to add cars to the existing trains.

  • David from Burke, VA asks
    Currently the first day of the month is grace period in which the previous month's monthly pass is accepted. Can you also make the last day of the month a "grace period" in which the following month's pass is accepted?

    VRE Response
    The grace period was originally added because so many passengers received their passes by mail, and there were occasional delays.  Currently many passengers are shifting away from the mail service and to VRE Mobile.  We have no plans to expand the grace period.

  • Rider from Alexandria Va asks
    What is happening with the elevator at Franconia/springfield station? Over a year later and still nothing has been done.

    VRE Response
    VRE has a contractor and material in place to rehabilitate both elevators. We estimate the project to be completed in 4 to 5 months. In the mean time, if you need assistance we have a VRE shuttle available to transport folks between the VRE station platform and Metro. Please contact VRE at 703-684-1001 to make arrangements.

  • Dave from Woodbridge asks
    So this past Friday was a disaster. It doesn't seem fair that the VRE riders only receive one free pass for a future ride. Many riders already have monthly passes. For situation like this past Friday you all should potentially provide a free ride to and from work the next business day. Or even free step up passes.

    VRE Response
    Friday was a challenge for all involved.  We apologize for the delays, but cannot offer anything beyond a Free Ride Certificate for the inconvenience.

  • Paul from Locust Grove Virginia asks
    When will VRE upgrade its cars have WiFi so commuters can work or read while on the train?

    VRE Response
    Paul, The cars are not the issue.  There are too many dead spots in our service area where we cannot get a strong enough signal to support WiFi.  As technology improves and the cellular companies improve coverage, we will look for a feasible option to add WiFi.

Welcome to another edition of the On-Line forum. In the studio today we have Rich Dalton – Chief Operating Officer, Chris Henry – Director of Rail Operations.

We would like to first start off by extending our sincere apologizes again for the service disruptions during our afternoon and evening service on Friday.  As many already know, they were a result of three separate, but compounding incidents that occurred in the District.

We will continue to work with our host railroads to minimize delays. We thank you for your understanding and patience throughout these delays.

Now on to the questions!