Our hour is up; thanks for all the great questions!

Election Day is next Tuesday and we will switch the longer trains to the earlier departures for the anticipated larger crowds to leave early for voting. The same will be done for next Thursday, 11/10, the day before Veteran's Day. Speaking of which, VRE will not operate service on Veterans' Day.

For those excited for the Operation Lifesaver Santa Trains, tickets will go on sale the Monday before Thanksgiving 11/21. Tickets go fast!

As the holidays approach, we have lots of things on our minds, but please make sure you stay mindful of your surroundings. Most accidents are preventable as long as you keep your eyes open!

If your question wasn't answered, please send it to where we answer all emails within one business day.


Rich, Chris, et al.

  • And from Backlick Station asks
    Is there anything that can be done about the light to turn left onto Backlick Road in the afternoon? With the traffic from the community across the street and the pedestrian crossing, sometimes it can take up to 10 minutes to get through the light. Perhaps a dedicated green turn arrow?

    VRE Response
    We will pass your comments onto VDOT and Fairfax County. 

  • Ronnie from Quantico asks
    It's been approximately 1 year since the Spotsy station opened...when can we expect Fred line trains to get back to their proper am schedule?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question.

  • Louise from Alexandria, VA asks
    Lighting is needed going down the stairs at the Alexandria train station on the side closest to the metro. Although an Amtrak station not controlled by VRE, it doesn't have the overhead that the other non-Amtrak stations have. Can someone please work with Alexandria/Amtrak before someone gets hurt? thank you!

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question.

  • Dave from Woodbridge asks
    Quite often i see 302 still at Quantico when 304 has already left Brooke. If you look at the schedule 302 shows 5:40am for Quantico and 304 shows 5:44am for Brooke. Why is 302 consistently late but 304 doesn't appear to be?

    VRE Response
    As mentioned earlier, we'll be adjusting the schedules to get the morning Fredericksburg trains on time at the southern stations.

  • Bethany from Backlick Road asks
    It seems like the trash on the southern approach to Backlick Road has been reduced? Are you guys picking that up or is Amtrak? Either way, looking good - keep it up!

    VRE Response
    It may be Fairfax County, or our Facilities crew, but either way, thanks for noticing.

  • Steve from Warrenton asks
    I love your mobile app and use it every month to purchase my monthly ticket. Are there any plans to give a discount for using the mobile app as it saves money on printing/validating tickets and eventually could replace most paper tickets.

    VRE Response
    We can't give a discount for using the app, but it is a great way to help us lower our overall cost of fare collections. We're glad you like it...tell all your friends.

  • Larry from Old Town Alexandria asks
    Afternoon Manassas trains from Alexandria have been SRO for a month or more. What can be done to help this out? Many days I end up standing all the way to Broad Run.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Larry.  We have noticed a change in the ridership patterns that may be creating crowding conditions on certain trains.  We'll see if a change of consists will help.

  • Steve from Bristow, VA asks
    Will the lanes in the Broad Run parking lot get directional arrows like they used to have before the re-paving project?

    VRE Response
    We'll check with the Facilities Manager, Steve.  Please forward your question to so we can reply directly once we hear back.

  • James from Gainesville asks
    Can something be done about the broad run parking lot? People have been parking in cross walks, they almost run people over as they try to race out of the parking lot. I know I've seen it brought up multiple times here, and the VRE always says they will contact prince William county pd, but nothing ever changes, there is never any police presence, and people continually put other's lives at risk.

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question. 


  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Did you know that if you are commuter that rides VRE, PRTC or Metro you absentee vote using code 1C or 1E in Prince William County? See

    VRE Response
    Thanks Davin, we'll pass it on.


  • Brenda from Washington, DC asks
    The Woodbridge Station has a vacant room that in the past has been open in the colder months to accommodate people waiting for their trains from the elements. Since the last tenant moved from the coffee shop management, the door has been locked. Will the room reopen for the colder months?

    VRE Response
    Yes, the current vendor has now taken over that room and should be opening the door. We will follow up with the vendor to make sure that is happening. Over time, the vendor has plans to upgrade that space with more service for the public.

  • Annalise from Gainesville asks
    First and foremost, thank you for the exceptional service you provide! My commute is so much more bearable since finding VRE. However, is chewing tobacco permitted while riding? Just this past week I have observed two separate incidences of passengers spitting chewing tobacco into cups and/or plastic bottles. Sorry to offend anyone, but this is not a pleasant experience for those non-dippers sitting next to you!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the compliment.  Chewing tobacco is not permitted on VRE.  If you see this happening please alert the Conductor.

  • Patricia from Manassas Park or Manassas asks
    Where is the nearest Greyhound Bus Station? I also need to know where the best station is for the VRE? I am in Manassas Park, visiting the Park Place Senior Apartment area, and plan to travel soon.

    VRE Response
    I suggest you catch the VRE into Union Station and you can pick up the Greyhound there.  Keep in mind, we only go north out of Manassas/Manassas Park in the mornings and only two northbound trains in the afternoon. Greyhound buses have stops at Woodbridge and Leesburg if that is more convenient for you. 

  • SS from Manassas, VA asks
    I love riding VRE. It is so much better than driving. I am wondering if there are plans to help with the overcrowding on the Manassas line. It would be great to sit down on the ride home on the first few days of the week. Thank you!

    VRE Response
    We have noticed an increased ridership on the Manassas Line and will continue to monitor trends. In the meantime, you can ask the conductors if there are any empty seats on the trains. Riders tend to ride in "their" cars even though they are crowded which leaves the cars on either end underutilized.

  • Elle from Spotslyvania, VA asks
    Can you use valid VRE ticket and AMTRAK Step Tickets on the weekend?

    VRE Response
    No. Step-Up tickets can only be used on VRE's normal operating days.  On Federal Holidays where VRE does not operate, if Amtrak is operating their normal weekday schedule, you may still use a Step-Up.


  • James P. from Woodbridge asks
    Every morning when approaching Union Station the same message that "crossing the railroad tracks at union station may be considered illegal" is played. My question is, has there been a history of people exiting the train at Union station and jumping off the platforms to get to another platform? I would think that the message would be better served in the evening where in the tracks can change from one to another after it is posted as arriving on a certain platform not upon arriving where you are exiting the train.

    VRE Response
    The message was requested by Amtrak because of people crossing tracks to reach other platforms.  Live train tracks are a very dangerous place, so we will keep looking for ways to communicate the importance of staying off the tracks at all times, regardless of the situation.


  • No Parking Ned from Lorton asks
    Do you have an estimated date when the construction at the Lorton station will be completed? Prior to the construction there was already a parking problem in Lorton because much of the parking is taken up by residents of the townhouses near the station, and nothing is done about it, which leaves limited spaces for paying customers. The construction is magnifying the problem.

    VRE Response
    Thr project schedule calls for six to nine months and the notice to proceed should be issued soon.

  • VRE Rider Tim from Bristow, VA asks
    When the VRE Commuter Train arrives at L'Enfant station, it routinely releases a foul smelling liquid (sewage?) as the train rolls to a stop. The discharge is right at the entrance doors and leaves a puddle of fluid at the station's platform. This is a heavy odor that lingers on hot days. Is this lavatory overflow and why does it have to dump / slosh out at the entry doors?

    VRE Response
    The liquid discharged is treated.  There may still be a smell, but the restroom vents are located in the same area so that may contribute to the smell.

  • Henry from Braod Run asks
    Your conductors are failing you. For the entire last week in October, I displayed a 10 ride ticket with 4 validations on it, none of which were actually valid for the period in question (I also had a valid October monthly ticket in my pocket). Not once was the ticket checked closely enough to determine if I was paying my fare. I could have gotten away with riding without paying for that entire week. Before you raise our fares, maybe you should look into collecting fares from all riders. Of course that means the conductors will have to give up their social lives.

    VRE Response
    The conductors are asked to do 100% ticket checks, however, their primary concern is the safe operation of the train.  They may not get to every ticket, every day, but you should certainly see them more frequently than you are describing.  Please forward specifics of the train you ride and we'll address it with the individual conductors. Protecting fare revenue is very important to us and we'll keep the focus on checking tickets.


  • Robin from Stafford, VA asks
    What is VRE's plan for outbound service on election day?

    VRE Response
    The longer trains will operate on the earlier schedule to help accommodate folks leaving work early.

  • Liam from Centreville asks
    What is the policy regarding audible electronic devices on your trains? A couple of people on 331 and 333 keep playing videos and music on their phones or computers without a headset. It's not in the quiet car, but shouldn't normal rules of etiquette and decency apply? None of us should be forced to listen to someone else's taste in entertainment. The conductors just walk on by without doing anything.

    VRE Response
    You're right Liam, common courtesy should apply.  It's just like watching movies or listening to music.  Passengers should use headphones, regardless of whether they are in the quiet car or not.  We will pass this on to the conductors, but please feel free to ask the conductor to intervene if this happens again.

  • Terry from Rippon asks
    When will the morning trains get back to the schedule as outlined for stops such as Brooke, Quantico, Rippon? still seeing 5-7 minute delays on scheduled times.

    VRE Response
    As mentioned in an earlier response, we are working with CSX now on an adjustment to the schedules that should alleviate the trains being late at Fredericksburg.  Basically, the time we allotted for the trip from Spotsylvania to Fredericksburg (including the station stop) was not adequate.  That has caused the train to leave Fredericksburg and the southern stations behind schedule.  We should be able to announce the changes soon.


  • David from Fredericksburg VA asks
    Not a question, just a statement. I don't know if you guys were involved in it but thanks for fixing the crumbling stairway at the train station. Hopefully when it rains again it won't be like swimming up stream or wading through puddles anymore.

    VRE Response
    The City of Fredericksburg handled the stairs and drainage, we'll pass along your thanks.

  • Debbie from Broad Run, VA asks
    Is it possible that the week the open forums occur that you don't take the questions and answers that occurred away at least until after that Friday? Usually shortly after the session ends if someone were to go back into the link to see what was answered including questions they may have asked it takes you straight to the archive page, bit that weeks forum is not there. People get busy and can't always monitor the forum while it's going on. It used to allow you to look at it several days after and somebody changed it. If it wasn't broke, Nobody should have tried to fix it.

    VRE Response
    The new Online Forum system is supposed to automatically archive the current forum, once it is completed.  We will make sure this happens, before we leave the room today.

  • Michael George from Manassas asks
    Yea can someone do something about the parking situation at Broad Run. Yesterday (and Tuesday is usually the worst) some person thought he/she had enough space to park next me for whatever reason and I couldn't even fit in between the driver side of my car and theirs. I had to climb through the passenger side to get to the driver side. There were also about a dozen people who parked in spots that don't exist, like on the crosswalk, other white painted areas and just in the middle of the asphalt.

    VRE Response
    We'll pass this along with other concerns about parking at Broad Run. 

  • Debbie from Broad Run asks
    Unfortunately due to family responsibilities, I was out of work the past couple of days and wasn't able to purchase my monthly ticket at Broad Run. I like Don the vendor at that station, but I didn't expect to find. Note saying he is temporarily closed. I normally use my transit card and now I am scrambling to find somewhere convenient to purchase the ticket. There are so many vendors available near Fredericksburg, so is it possible that since the new WaWa has opened off of Piper Ln. arrangements could be made with them to become a ticket vendor? It would be a lot more convenient.

    VRE Response
    Due to an emergency with our vendor at Broad Run (Don's Depot) we are asking that you call our main office at 703-684-1001 and one of our Communications Specialist will help with your transaction. 

  • Diane from Fredericksbug, VA asks
    The light at the stairs in Alexandria's far track is still burnt out. Early northbound trains are left in the dark and someone is going to fall, when they do it will be a domino effect and several people will be hurt. Not to mention what they may fall onto at the bottom of the stairs. It is disgusting and needs to be cleaned and monitored.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Diane.  The City of Alexandria maintains that stairwell.  Our Facilities Manager has contacted the City and they have added the light and some stair repairs to their list.

  • Mary Beth from asks
    First, I really like the fact that Fredericksburg and Manassas have been added to which train is approaching on the announcements, and hopefully it will help people to board the correct train Second, in Broad Run Station can the white painted areas (with diagnols) be turned into actual spaces? People park in those areas all the time anyway (as well as next to them in non painted spots). Otherwise, should they be painted yellow?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Mary Beth, we are pleased that you like the recent changes to our announcement system.  We'll take a look at the parking lot.  The white areas are usually designated for pedestrian traffic or to properly allow room for emergency response should an incident arise.

  • Angie from Alexandria, VA asks
    Good afternoon and thank you for this forum as an opportunity to ask questions! Are there any plans to address the low platform at Alexandria? I find about 50% of the time, conductors do not put out the yellow steps - especially in the morning. It is very hit or miss. It tends to be calisthenics to pull up onto the train or jump off. And the 2 or 3 steps scattered on the platform are generally nowhere near a door. In the morning, there is a rush to clear Alexandria and move on and I am concerned going for a step is not worth potentially missing a train. A more consistent or permanent solution to this would be very appreciated. Thank you!

    VRE Response
    Good question Angie.  There are plans to raise the platform as a part of the Alexandria Tunnel project.


  • Debbie from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Who are the people whose names are on the front of the VRE trains?

    VRE Response
    VRE Operations Board Members who were instrumental in getting the service started, or who have had a major positive impact on the service through their commitment and support through the years. 


  • vickie Hudnall from fredericksburg, va asks
    More of a comment....more cars are needed during the evening commute. 309 and 311 are usually standing room only especially mid week.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Vickie, we'll see if adjusting some of the train lengths will solve the issue.  We can't simply add cars, but if we see a longer train which is underutilized we may be able to swap it with a shorter one.  309 and 311 are both 7 car sets.  307 has the only 8 car set on the Fredericksburg line, so it would mean swapping 307 with one of the others.

  • Donny Trump from Burke asks
    Just curious, when is VRE going to update its schedule? In one of the previous forums VRE said it was going to fix the schedule so trains don't just sit at the stations idling for several minutes. The first Manassas train sits at Rolling Road for several minutes. Also, thanks for hiring the lady at Union Station. She is very helpful making sure we get on the right train.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Donny, we'll pass on the compliment to Kim. We are currently working with the railroads to adjust schedules to eliminate the excessive dwell time, primarily at Rolling Road.  We should be able to announce some changes soon.

  • Rider from Alexandria asks
    Can you please provide an update on the two elevators at Franconia/ Springfield. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question.

  • Dale from Alexandria, VA asks
    Why do the conductors continuously leave the air on when going through the Union Station tunnel? This has been an issue for years. You tell them to turn off the air, and that will happen until the next conductor is hired / fired. Then the issue comes back... Your conductors act like 6 year olds. They can't follow directions at all.

    VRE Response
    The dampers should be closed on all trains leaving/entering Union Station.  This was just addressed again in the crew briefings a couple of weeks ago, so if you see it happen, please let us know the specific train so we can address it with the conductor for that trip.

  • Dave from Fredericksburg asks
    Now that it is dark when I return to the station, I note that the Fredericksburg station stairs on Track 2 are lit dimly by a single light and Track 3 is lit only by lights near the stairs. The lack of lighting results in issues when a train lets off passengers and many people attempt to use the stairs, blocking most of the light to the steps. Can VRE fix this safety issue before someone is hurt?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Dave.  We have some platform rehabilitation work being planned right now, and the City of Fredericksburg is working on the stairs and drainage.  We'll ask them to also look at the lighting.

  • Doug from Gainesville, VA asks
    Many have asked this question and gotten a condescending response from you. I will try once again. Most `of your riders are monthly ticket holders. When a train is more than 30 minutes late, you compensate riders with a FRC. This does zero good for us. For the most part, we use monthly tickets even in months when we have vacation. Two reasons for this, one is that the monthly ticket is cheaper once you work 15 days a month and we would have to take 6 or 7 days of vacation to get down to 15 days; two, it makes sense to retain the monthly even if we are only working 13 or 14 days because it is a good hedge against a $150 fine if we don't validate, which we are not used to doing. So, please either suggest a meaningful way to reimburse/compensate the monthly riders or admit that you don't really care to do so. Because when you tell us to use them on our vacation months, we read that as You don't care to do anything for us.

    VRE Response
    The FRC program, as mentioned above is our way of apologizing for delays experienced by our riders.  The FRC is our way of saying, "ride again, on us, and experience the service we expect to deliver everyday".  We apologize for the convenience.  We agree the monthly ticket holders have less opportunity to take advantage of a free ride, but the suggestion to utilize FRC's when you do not plan to ride all month is simply a suggestion to utilize the FRC, and at the same time, maybe save some money.  We are sorry if that does not work for you.

  • Joyce from Manassas, VA asks
    A couple of passengers from the Manassas line spread birdseed on the sidewalk of the underpass at L'Enfant Plaza at least twice a week. I realize the underpass is not VRE property, but could it be noted that this practice is a serious health problem? There is a heavy pigeon population at the underpass because of the constant feedings. Pigeons carry a large number of diseases that are transmissible to humans. The droppings carry airborne diseases, and also as people walk in the droppings, then walk on the VRE/Metro trains, set their bags on the train floors, then set the same bags on their desk or worse, kitchen counter tops or kitchen tables. If VRE cannot mention this health hazard and request the feedings stop, then possibly the City can police the area and ticket the violators. The feedings are a great expense to the city, as they hire workers to clean the is a futile cycle. Any help VRE can contribute is greatly appreciated.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Joyce, we'll pass on your comments/concerns.


  • John from Springfield, VA asks
    The two Ticket Machines at the Backlick Road Station were broken again this week. Myself and several others were unable to purchase tickets. Maybe a preventative maintenance to check the machines out a few days prior to the end of the month when the machines are at their peak purchase times.

    VRE Response
    The machines are serviced several times per week.  The issues recently were the result of a data center move, though admittedly, the timing could have been better.  On the positive side, we have just issued a Notice to Proceed to our fare system vendor on a project to upgrade all of our vending machines with new software, touch screens, credit card readers, ...etc.  The complete overhaul should be done in about nine months.


  • Christine from Stafford, VA asks
    I'd really like to see VRE have more community involvement. Food drives, school supply drives, coats, pet food, etc. Your ridership reaches many local towns and it would be great to see VRE coordinating events for local charities. You do meet the management events. Example: Why not do Cocoa for Pets? Same setup as meet the management except donate $1 and get a cup of cocoa. The funds raised go to a local animal shelter and you can change it up each time.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the suggestion Christine.  We are very proud to assist and support both Operation Lifesaver and the Toys for Tots campaign through our Santa Trains and onboard collections.  Our passengers have been very generous in the past, and we hope to continue those programs.  


  • Christine from Stafford, VA asks
    I'd like to ask VRE to consider a way to give back via the FRC program. Many riders have monthly passes so when we get an FRC, we wind up not using it. I think a better use of the FRC program would be to allow riders to opt to turn in an unused FRC requesting the VRE donate a set amount to a local charity. VRE can preprint the FRCs with the names of two LOCAL charities each time they issue a new FRC group. So, with the batch that expired 6/30/16, riders could select from two LOCAL charities listed on the FRC. In the next batch, it could be two different LOCAL charities.

    VRE Response
    FRCs are simply our way of apologizing to passengers who experienced a delay.  We cannot convert that to a cash donation despite the noble intent.


  • Betty from Manassas asks
    Tonight Manassas Park will have the meeting in regards to the alternatives the board is considering. The project schedule says that by the end of November they will select the preferred alternative. How will the riders find out this outcome?

    VRE Response
    We will communicate via Train Talk, our website, and social media feeds (Twitter and Facebook).

  • Marie from Manassas Park asks
    It's turning cool and soon to be cold. Could you remind - by announcement on the trains, since every passenger doesn't bother to read the forum - to keep the vestibule doors closed until the train comes to a stop at the stations? The 3 extra seconds will not prevent these folks from reaching their cars and WILL prevent the little heat inside the cars from completely escaping.

    VRE Response
    Yes we will Marie.  We'll also remind the conductor's to keep an eye on it, at least for the cars they staff.

  • Joe from Woodbridge asks
    Seems like every year about this time conductors get switched and daily commuters have to adjust. I'm optimistic that my new conductor on the morning 308 and afternoon 309 will notice that step boxes at L'Enfant greatly help old vets like me get on and off the quiet car. Sometimes my aging bones just don't cooperate like they once did. I'm grateful for VRE getting me to and from work safely everyday.

    VRE Response
    Always approach the Conductors if you need a step stool.  They will be happy to assist.

  • Brenda from Washington, DC asks
    Will the VRE change the consist of trains on election day to accommodate for may be people leaving work early to get home in time to vote?

    VRE Response
    Great question Brenda, yes we will.  Also Friday is Veteran's Day, so no VRE service.  That means we will also adjust consists on Thursday in case folks want to get out early before the three day weekend.  Specific train lengths will be communicated through Train Talk and as an alert on our website at




  • Big Mo from The End of the Line asks
    I regularly see complaints from passengers who get hit by backpacks. I have a pro tip for y'all: Don't hang out in the middle of the aisle. I know; we're Americans. We're large people, so the confines of these little Eurasian train car concepts are hard to squeeze into and remain squeezed into. And I'm careful, so I've never hit anybody with a swinging backpack. But you make it so hard to miss you, with your appendages and whatnot sticking out in the travel lane. And I worry that someone may trip over you. It's a two-way street, and passengers should respect the plane dividing the seat area and the aisle area, both ways. Thanks.

    VRE Response
    Courtesy Reminder.

  • Deborah from Washington DC asks
    When is the elevator going to be fixed at Springfield?

    VRE Response
    We are still working with WMATA (Metro) to coordinate the elevator modernization on the Metro side.  We will let everyone know when the work actually begins so we can better estimate a completion date.  The elevator on the east side is already done and that crew has moved on to Rippon. 


  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Courtesy Tip: Please do not open the vestibule doors so early, before the train arrives at the station. I prefer it not be opened until the train is on the platform. If someone, such as conductor opens the door, do not keep holding it open or leaning on it. Let the door close when it starts closing. We don't need the door open so long letting the cold air in.

    VRE Response
    Thank you Davin.

Welcome to the November edition of the Online Forum where VRE Senior Operations Management, Rich Dalton - Deputy CEO/COO, and Chris Henry - Director of Rail Operations, answer as many service related questions as we can for the next hour.

The autumn weather must be the inspiration for all the various questions we see about schedule changes, ticket checking, leaf oil, etc. so let's dive right in!