Thanks for another exciting hour.  As a reminder, VRE will not operate on Monday, January 16, 2017 (Martin Luther King Jr's Day) and regular service will resume on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.  Our current plan for Inaguration Day on Friday, January 20, 2017 is to operate a normal schedule.  However, that may be scaled back to an "S" schedule based on projected rail congestion in and out of Union Station affecting the entire rail network. 

We will update our website and send out Train Talk messages once the final decision is made.  Stay tuned!

See you next month.


Rich, Chris, et,al

  • Ron from Burke Center, VA asks
    With the Amtrak Step Up program, many riders do not validate a VRE ticket. This way they ride for a lower amount on Amtrak. Amtrak conductors do not check for the VRE ticket validation, just for the Step Up ticket. Just bringing it up since it may have some small impact on VRE revenue.

    VRE Response
    We'll follow-up with Amtrak Ron.  Thanks for the info.



  • Lester from Fredericksburg Va (Leland Station) asks
    Not a question - just a comment. Called customer support today with an issue regarding a ticket machine. I got a prompt, accurate, and very satisfying response for my issue. I very much appreciate that!

    VRE Response
    Thanks Lester, we'll thank the staff for you.  We appreciate the feedback.



  • Richard from Burke, Va asks
    Any chance VRE will add Wi-Fi to its trains anytime soon? I could really use it to keep up with e-mail. I don't have a cell phone with cellular service yet.

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question.

  • Mera from Manassas, VA asks
    1. In one of the previous forums I asked about signage for backpack and other carry on item etiquette. People just don't seem to realize that the backpacks take up the space of another person and they forget about the person standing behind or beside them because I get hit everyday! Will VRE address this issue?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Mera.  We discussed this with the conductors who have begun making announcements (we heard it on 300 yesterday).  We'll ask them to keep an eye on it, but solutions to common sense courtesy issues like this are largely in the hands of the passengers themselves to use common sense and be courteous.



  • Mark from Lorton, VA asks
    Can you ask Fairfax County to pick up the trash at and around the Lorton VRE station? The grassy areas of the parking lot looks like the Lorton Trash Dump. The trash cans constantly overflow with trash, which easily blows around when it is windy.

    VRE Response
    We will pass this on to our Facilities manager.


  • David from Woobridge, VA asks
    Why doesn't the monthly ticket in the mobile app have a grace period? The December one expired 1/1/17 and the January one expires 1/31/17. Should't it be on 2/1/17? Also, when will VRE add new trip features to the mobile app?

    VRE Response
    We're checking on the grace period issue David.  More features like real-time train arrivals, Ride Tap (a module linked to Lyft and other forms of transportation to solve first/last mile challenges), and Rate MY Ride (a survey function where passengers can share their experience daily) are all slated for release this quarter.



  • Paul from Fredericksburg asks
    Will you be operating service on January 20th, Inauguration Day?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered question.


  • Michael from Alexandria asks
    Will VRE operate on Jan 20, 2017 and if so, what type of schedule can we expect?

    VRE Response
    As of now, we plan to run full service. 


  • Josh from Woodbridge VA asks
    Has VRE considered collecting and reusing the free ride vouchers instead of validating them? While I'm sure it's not a significant expense, this could reduce printing cost on these items.

    VRE Response
    Great idea, but we do have to protect our revenue because recycled tickets can get out of control and unmanageable. 


  • Chris from Burke asks
    I just returned from a cruise and had seamless wifi on the ship all the way to the eastern Caribbean and back. on flights, I am able to get wifi at 30,000 feet. Why can't VRE figure it out on the Manassas and Fredericksburg lines? I don't think the explanation of dead spots and wanting to provide the "best" service holds water. There must be more to the answer that you're not telling us. is it that you haven't figured out how to monetize it yet?

    VRE Response
    There is no more to the answer Chris. This is not a funding issue, or a lack of desire to provide the service.  There are significant areas along our lines which do not have the cellular service available to support WiFi.  As a matter of fact, we are in the process of purchasing a few satellite phones for use in the case of emergency because there are still too many areas where coverage is inadequate.  If you send a note to with your contact information, we'll be happy to discuss in more detail.



  • mark from Manassas asks
    What is the plan for the VRE on Inauguration Day January 20 2017?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered.



  • Donna from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Are you running a special schedule on Friday, January 20, 2017?

    VRE Response
    Previously answered



  • RU from Leeland asks
    When will we see the new schedule? When will the new schedule take affect? When will all the legacy be gone?

    VRE Response
    All answered previously.



  • Tim from FBG asks
    Standing near the north end of L'Enfant yesterday as people crowded the area where the doors open and there is a wind screen and bench all in about the same place...which creates a 95-like log jam. SO people stop in the middle of the road so to speak and force people off of the platform to tip toe thru mud to get by. I've brought this up about 5 times now with no VRE remediation. Can you at least extend the concrete platform where the railing opens up to accommodate the overflow of people?

    VRE Response
    Tim, we do have a project in the facilities plan for 2017 to widen the platform at L'Enfant.



  • Dave from Manassas, VA asks
    First morning train from Broad Run, second-leading car...I've noticed a definite temperature drop all the way into L'Enfant in the car after departing Backlick Road. i know that the temp settings are supposed to be automatic, but when we are traveling with no more doors opening it doesn't make sense that the temps drop so noticeably. This is a regular occurrence.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Dave, we'll ask the mechanical crews to check that car.



  • Tom from Manassas, VA asks
    Looks like the same old thing here in the new year....first train out of Manassas, and we have the old sit-and-wait at Rolling Road station AGAIN this morning after it had mostly ended before the holidays. Is the schedule off again, and if so when can we expect a "regular" commute?

    VRE Response
    Tom, we hope to have the new schedules posted and effective in the next few weeks.  These should resolve the excess dwell time at Rolling Road.



  • Bradley from Woodbridge VA asks
    Many of us purchase monthly tickets, and do not work for the Federal Gov.. On Federal Holidays when the Federal Government is closed, and VRE decides to not operate, those non-Federal workers that purchased a VRE Monthly ticket have to find another way to work. I feel that since I paid VRE for a monthly ticket, I should be able to ride to work on the train, whether the Federal Gov is working or not. I do not think it fair that you took my money, but do not provide me a ride for a day I paid for!!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment Bradley.  While the majority of our riders are either federal workers, or are affiliated in some way with the federal government business, we recognize that not everyone get the holidays off.  We have tried operating in the past on Columbus Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day but ridership was too low, even for a reduced "S" schedule to justify the operation.  There are typically 20-22 operating days per month, which already accounts for the lack of holiday service.  The deep discount of the monthly pass as compared to daily fares is usually viewed as enough of an incentive to purchase the monthly, but if you need more flexibility, switching to a Ten-ride ticket is an option.




  • Ann from Alexandria VA asks
    Can train-info signage be established on both sides if the Alexandria platform? Can signage indicate which side of the platform the next train will arrive at? As a passenger, if you miss the audio, you're " in the dark". Thanks! P. S. I have been a new--and happy VRE rider for 5 months.

    VRE Response
    Welcome to VRE Ann, we're glad you have chosen us for your commute.  The video signage on the west platform at Alexandria already shows the messages and we have plans to enhance the east platform to add a screen on that side.  We just do not have an expected completion date yet.



  • Bill from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Will Leeland Rd stop ever get an awning cover for the platform? It is one of VRE's few stops with no overhead cover except for maybe 1/10th of the platform on the end by the ticketing machine. Thank you for considering my question.

    VRE Response
    As part of a future platform extension project we will extend the existing awning/canopy.

  • Terry from Fredericksburg VA asks
    When are the old cars on Spotsylvania 312 going to be replaced with new cars?

    VRE Response
    The next 5 new cars are currently scheduled to be delivered by the end of March 2017.  Those cars will replace the Legacy cars on 312 and will mean the end of the Legacy car system wide.



  • Reginald from Washington, DC asks
    Can the VRE possibly run at least 2 trains to DC on the weekends 1am and 1pm? I'm sure many would take advantage of this.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Reginald.  We do not have any near-term plans to add weekend service.



  • Sergiy from Manassas Park, VA asks
    What are you going to do about overcrowded trains?

    VRE Response
    Sergiy, looking at the recent ridership trends, the one afternoon train on the Manassas line which seems to be overcrowded is Train 329.  That is already an 8 car train which is the longest train we operate.


  • Carl from Lorton, VA asks
    Inauguration week. Are you expecting delays getting to / from Union Station / L'Enfant Plaza via rail?

    VRE Response
    On the 20th specifically there will be heavier than normal rail traffic into Union Station, so we may experience delays from Alexandria north.

  • Debbie from Broad Run, Va asks
    I recently emailed VRE about the age old practice of railroad conductors helping out passengers when it comes to assisting them with getting their baggage on or off the train. I have not only experienced trying to get my telework bag on and off the trains with no assistance what so ever while conductors just stand by and watch you struggle to get onto a train, but I have also witnessed the same with other passengers either with their telework bags or with suitcases for those heading into Union Station to travel on Amtrak. I didn't think that just because we were in the 21st century that great customer service had to go by the wayside.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment Debbie. Our conductors should be assisting passengers with their bags as necessary.  If you would like assistance, just board at a car where there is a Conductor stationed.



  • Lynn from FAIRFAX, VA asks
    Will you have a train on Jan 21st for the Women's March?

    VRE Response
    VRE will not operate on January 21, 2017 because we do not run on weekends.



  • Jeanie from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Will VRE be operating on January 20? Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Previously answered.



  • Eric from Bristow, VA asks
    Love the VRE! Impressive on time service. I enjoy the forum. Just a couple of comments: First, I enjoy the quiet car, I enjoy that you have some cars with and some without bathrooms, some of the seat bottoms have imprints from people sitting their over time and one need to be replaced. One last observation: in two years of taking VRE almost every day with fairly regular checking I have only twice seen someone without a validated ticket, one who had just forgotten to validate and I didn't see what happened with the other. So this whole complaint some customer gives every month on this forum of our fares are higher because they don't check your ticket every ride, that doesn't make sense to me and they need to move on. Most people have more tickets than they use (extra monthly, FRC or ten trip) and almost all of us have validated tickets on the train at all times. Most of us get subsidized travel anyway from the Gov. We're just trying to work or sleep so for all I care they can check our tickets infrequently.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the positive comments Eric.



  • Leeland Rider from Stafford, VA asks
    Happy New Year panel! I have a few things I'd like to address. #1-Can we get better lighting on the stairway at Leeland Station? Right now it is very dark, especially on darker rainy nights. #2-When is the debris from the replacement canopy roof at Leeland station going to be removed? The work was completed over a month ago and the debris sitting there is now an eyesore. #3-Why aren't the parking lot rows labeled in some manner making it easier to locate your car? Labeled like (A), (B), (C) or (1), (2), (3) or different animals or colored train cars or something? After a long day it is sometimes taxing to try to remember exactly where your car is parked if you don't park in the same area each day. Thank you!

    VRE Response
    Thanks LR and Happy New Year.  All good questions/ideas.  We'll ask our Facilities Manager to look at the lighting, and debris, and we'll see if Stafford County has any ideas on the row labels.

  • Monica from Fairfax VA asks
    I understand the frequency of trains cannot change, but can the trains run a bit faster? They seem to go awfully slow between certain stations. If they could go faster, folks could get downtown faster. I realize this would mean adjusting the time tables that the trains arrive at certain stations, so is this the problem?

    VRE Response
    The train schedules are all developed based on the ability to merge the two lines at Alexandria and also allow for Amtrak and freight trains in the mix. 

    Train speeds between stations are dictated by factors such as curvature, speeds permitted over certain parts of the track structure (switches, etc) and working around other trains - especially near Alexandria where both lines merge.


  • Diane from Broad Run Station asks
    Will the VRE be running on Inauguration Day, January 20th?

    VRE Response
    As of now, we are planning to operate a regular schedule, but that may be scaled back to an "S" schedule, if the additional rail congestion in the area that day will impact service.  We will send out a Train Talk and update our website by the end of the week.


  • Dave from Woodbridge, Va asks
    When will the new schedules be posted?

    VRE Response
    Great question Dave, they are being printed now, and as soon as we have everything ready, we'll get them posted at the stations, pocket schedules on the trains, and the website updated.  Look for everything in the next couple of weeks.


Happy New Year!  As a public service announcement there are 74 days, 18 hours before Spring starts.

On with the questions............