It was a slow month for questions, a lot of you must still be on vacation! Thanks to all those who participated. As you might be aware, we had some technical difficulties at the beginning so be sure to scroll back to the bottom to see the questions we were answering. If you don't see your question answered, feel free to contact us at where we answer all inquiries within one business day.

Be sure to visit us at our next Pop-Up event at Broad Run on the afternoon of July 12. We have invited Prince William County PD to join us and address the passenger concerns related to the parking lot.

Our safety message of the month is to reiterate Operation Lifesaver's statement about last week's incident. "Wednesday’s tragic incident involving a teenaged girl killed on a train trestle in Northern Virginia is a sad reminder that being on train tracks and trestles can have deadly consequences. Our thoughts are with this young woman’s family, friends, community and the train crew involved."

See Tracks? Think Trains!

Rich, Chris, et al.

  • Peter from Woodbridge, va asks
    Why is getting VRE mobile ticket app monthly expiration dates so hard? You did get your new fares in but my July monthly still expires one day too early. It's the same issue you've had every month this year!

    VRE Response
    Not sure what the issue is with the grace day on the monthlies.  The developers are working on it.  However, the grace period was initially implemented for paper tickets for those who receive their tickets by mail and the tickets were often delayed.  With VRE Mobile, there really is no need to have a grace day because you can purchase your ticket anytime, anywhere, and your benefit funds are made available at midnight on the first of the month.

    We still plan to honor the grace period for mobile monthlies, but getting the ticket to expire after the first operating day after the end of the month seems to be a challenge.  We'll get it fixed.

  • Mike from Woodbridge asks
    Are there plans to have components of your app, like the GPS map, available on the Apple Watch?

    VRE Response
    No, but thank you for the suggestion.

  • Patty from Woodbridge VA asks
    This is minor but annoying and has been malfunctioning for probably a year. The number "3" button on the Woodbridge Parking Garage elevator doesn't stay lit, so it gets pressed numerous times as people board. Most people riding the elevator get off on the 3rd or 4th levels. Thanks for great service over the years!

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Patty. We will have our Facilities Manager look into the button issue.

  • Joe from Woodbridge asks
    Do you keep track of the mean distance between delays for your engines like many rail systems do? If so, do you notice any patterns, are some engines worse than others in your fleet?

    VRE Response
    Paul says: Yes, we do. Thanks for asking.

  • Marc from Leeland asks
    Just a comment. I know people are Queueing, but it never fails there is always someone who comes running through the train because they weren't paying attention and are about to miss getting off. I believe that as a passenger, you need to pay attention and ensure you are up in enough time to ensure you make your stop and not come running through after you hear the door is closing.

    VRE Response
    As mentioned earlier, we will try to manage what we can control.  In this case it is queuing.  We can't make sure everyone is alert and paying attention, despite the automated and manual announcements.

  • Angie W from Manassas, VA asks
    Is there any timeline for replacing seat cushions in the cars? Some of them have "bottomed out" to the point that you can feel the hard surface underneath what is left of the cushion. I know there are other funding priorities but some of the seats are in really bad shape so it might be worthwhile. Thanks for the great commute!

    VRE Response
    Paul says: It is on our project list to get taken care of. When we get a specific timeline, we will let you know.

  • John from Fredericksburg asks
    I saw last month's question about the service dog, I think that's a great idea. I see him a few days a week and he's always so nervous. I think he deserves some extra space - just like our bikers, who don't pay extra. Also would like to give a big round of applause to all the VRE and Keolis staff last Wednesday. All employees handled the delays calmly. We are so lucky to have great professionals on our trains and back in the office.

    VRE Response
    We will be as accommodating as possible to our riders with special needs. We appreciate your patience during the service disruption we experienced last week and will pass along your sentiments to all those involved.


  • James from Broad Run asks
    In the future, if you need to provide busses, could you please be more clear as to the status of the busses. You sent out a message that said busses would be at burke center, but when our train off loaded, we ended up waiting for an hour for the busses to get there. If i knew how long the busses would have taken, I would have arranged alternative transportation. You made it seem like they were there and waiting for us.

    VRE Response
    Once we know how many buses can be dispatched, we get the message out.  We receive estimates from their dispatchers as to expected arrival times, but buses have to deal with the same traffic issues that we all are trying to avoid by taking the train, so there are delays.

    In the most recent event, we could only get 6 buses initially and we were trying to move nearly 1,000 passengers from the first train, so the buses had to make round trips, meaning traffic delays.  

    We apologize for the inconvenience, but we were simply working with the resources available.

  • Andrew from Manassas asks
    You have said in the past that when there is a major disruption (such as the trespasser strike last week) that you do a post even break down to see what went wrong and what went right. Do you ever interview riders during these assessments? They might be able to provide valuable insight and ideas to better adapt in the future.

    VRE Response
    We read all the comments that come in by phone, email, and social media to assess how the riders feel, but face to face interviews may be a good idea.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Since the new proposed mid-storage yard VRE is looking at is owned by Amtrak, will VRE still pay Amtrak to park its trains there?

    VRE Response
    We are too early in the process to know all the details.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    The consist page at needs to be updated as it shows as of 3/30/2016 at top

    VRE Response
    Thanks, Davin. We will be sure to update it.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why are the monthly Ride VRE magazines been coming out so late at the end of the month? They used to come out by mid-month

    VRE Response
    Our new Marketing Administrator has a schedule that will allow us to get the monthly issues out at the beginning of the month by the end of summer.

  • john from fredericksburg asks
    how does this work?

    VRE Response
    You ask a question...we answer it.

  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    I glad you are doing something about the queuing problem. There is no need to stand up early. First, unlike Metro, VRE stations are not that close together and secondly, you won't get to your destination any quicker. Third, VRE trains are not meant for standing unlike in a subway. Say your getting off at Woodbridge, no need to stand right after we leave Lorton. That is too early, wait until we get closer to Woodbridge and also I don't like opening the door early before we arrive at the station. Wait until we are in the station before opening the door and don't keep holding it open, let the door close when it starts closing

    VRE Response
    Well said David.  The trains are made to accommodate standing, but it is the queuing that is really the issue.



  • David from Woodbridge, VA asks
    What is going in the building to the right of the cafe at the Woodbridge station?

    VRE Response
    The vendor at Destination Station was planning on utilizing that space for his operation.  We'll check on the status of those plans.

  • Betty from Manassas VA asks
    Thank you for the wonderful article in the June 2017 Circus train.. I will really miss seeing those cars. Where on the web can I find the plans for the L'Enfant station improvements?

    VRE Response
    We appreciate your feedback Betty. We're working to get L'Enfant station improvement plans on our website.

  • Noura from Burke, VA asks
    I just wanted to compliment the VRE staff for their hard work and professionalism during the incident where a pedestrian got struck by a train. The situation was horrible in itself - not just for the VRE riders, but also the staff - and I thought you guys handled it very well by keeping riders informed at all times, remaining calm during the rides and when speaking to riders and getting us home safely. Keep up the great work and i'm so glad I ride the VRE now instead of the Metro.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Noura, it was an unfortunate situation all the way around.  We appreciate the feedback.

  • Arthur from Burke asks
    There is a woman who starts her work day on 332 and her incessant phone conversations are irritating. Can we agree that phone conversations be limited to 5 minutes? This will save some oxygen for those nearby and will allow others to engage in short conversations. This won't impede most parrengers who use their phones for texting, facebook, and Web surfing.

    VRE Response
    Mobile phone usage is allowed and we cannot limit the length of a conversation.  Phone usage is a courtesy issue.  We do ask passengers to keep their voices low and keep the conversations as short as possible.  If the conversations are excessively loud, ask the conductor to speak to her.

  • Erin from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    More handicap parking spots are needed at Leeland Rd as the lot fills quickly. The far left end of the parking lot has no handicap designated parking at all. Will more spaces be added? Also, I saw signage about another station being added on the Fredericksburg line in the future...don't we have enough stops already?! Will this increase the cost of riding the train even more once the new station is operational? I think we pay enough as is.

    VRE Response
    The number of ADA spaces at Leeland Road meets all Federal guidelines.  We do not have plans to add more spaces at this time.

    There is a new station slated to go in at Potomac Shores, which will add a stop to the Fredericksburg Line.

  • William from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Have been a monthly rider for years. The smartphone app. worked well at the beginning, but for months now it crashes within 30-45 seconds of opening. I can barely get the real-time map of train progress and it shuts off. I have deleted and re-installed it several times. It's not just my phone either. It is happening to a lot of riders waiting on the platforms who want real-time progress reports. Please get this fixed. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback William.  Please send a note to and we'll have someone follow-up with you specifically.  We'll then get the app developers to work on a solution.  Just send the note to the attention of Chris.

  • Shannon from Manassas, VA asks
    So, So excited to hear about a parking garage at Manassas Park! I understand the planning is still underway for this but a preliminary question... Is there thought about a way to notify riders if one of the lots is full? For example, if I drive past the garage in hopes of the current ground lot to be available and find that it's full and have to circle back to enter the garage, I might miss the train. Wasn't sure if there was any sort of notification system that could be discussed. Many thanks!

    VRE Response
    Great question Shannon.  We are in the process of procuring an automatic parking counter system for all of our parking lots.  One of the goals is to be able to get real time parking information out to the passengers so decisions can be made on where to park and board.  We'll keep everyone posted as this project progresses.

  • DAO from Manassas, VA asks
    This problem seems to persist. Would VRE please consider the disposal of toilet waste along a stretch of the tracks where passengers are NOT boarding? Why should people boarding at L'enfant Plaza going Southbound in the afternoons have to suffer through this stench? Why do you dump toilet waste there as passengers are boarding the train?? Do you actually expect us to believe that there is no other place where the toilet waste can be dumped? How about during a stretch where no one is boarding? Please do something about it so your passengers who pay almost $300.00 a month don't have to suffer through this vile practice every time they board. Quite frankly, most of us are disgusted that we are greeted with raw sewage - whether it's treated or not. Please find an alternative. Show your passengers you care. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the question DAO. Since we do hear similar comments frequently in the summer months, we'll clarify a couple points.  There is no raw sewage being dumped, nor is the treated wastewater manually dumped at specific locations.  The discharge of treated water is not timed or controlled. The tanks onboard our trains are designed to seep over once full. The smell is generally from the venting of the system, not from the actual water. You can read more about this process here, on our blog. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • Marc from Leeland asks
    No questions are being posted. I can see the initial remarks, but nothing after that.

    VRE Response
    We are experiencing some technical difficulties. We have been answering questions, but we see only the most recent have been posted. We're working to resolve the issue.

  • JD from Stafford, VA asks
    While I applaud your stand on queueing, and the recent policy announcement, I a left to wonder how will you really enforce it? Unless you overstaff trains with enough conductors to be in every car with a door that opens, it seems that there will be missed instances people queueing that will not detrain.

    VRE Response
    Good point JD.  Queuing is and always will be a challenge, but we know which trains, which stations, and which cars are generally the ones to focus on.  We'll start with those and go from there.  The goal will be to get everyone in the habit of detraining and reboarding if necessary to make sure passengers are able to detrain at their desired station.  One of the other things we are doing is adding multiple egress points from the platforms so there should be no need to crowd the doors of a specific car, just to get to the parking lot first.  We will continue to look for ways to manage this, and any ideas are welcome.


  • Lewis from Manassas, VA asks
    I have ridden commuter rails both in Chicago and in the Northeast. From time to time, there would be a vehicle hit by a train, and - sadly - there would be occasions, as was the case last week on the Manassas line, where an individual would be struck by a train. While those type incidents inevitably resulted in delays and service disruption, the Chicago and New York train lines never completely shut down and ceased running past the point of the incident. Is that due to state or local laws here that are different here?

    VRE Response
    The circumstances in the cases you experienced may have been such that would permit some train movement. In most situations where a tragedy occurs on any US railroad, movement on all tracks that run through a scene is held to permit safe access and assessment for responders and investigators until a consensus of those in charge of the scene agree on release.

  • Patrick from Haymarket, VA asks
    Can you please have the upper parking lot at the Broad Run station cleaned. There are large amounts of broken glass in the spaces closes to the road.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Patrick.  We've passed this on to our Facilities Manager to coordinate.


  • SRW from Stafford asks
    So, I completely agree with the "new" queuing policy but how many times do I have to get the message? Multiple texts and emails over multiple days in addition to the repeated on-board announcement on the train this morning. Talk about over-kill!!! I don't know why it took years to get some real attention/action to this issue, but I'm glad it's happening. PLEASE lay off the constant messaging.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment SRW.  This isn't really a new policy, just giving the current policy a little more attention due to the higher number of passengers who are missing their stations because they can't get past the folks who are queuing.  We realize the messaging has been frequent, but we want to make sure everyone is well aware before we begin any enforcement efforts.  Thank you for being patient and for supporting the initiative.


  • Jason from Bristow, VA asks
    At Broad Run, the grass and shrubs are growing tall again where they were trimmed for visibility last year around the bend to the left in turning right onto Piper Lane out of the station. I cannot remember if it was VRE or the city/county, but could you all please coordinate that getting trimmed again? It just makes it a little faster and safer to turn right there without worrying you're cutting off traffic coming from the other way.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Jason.  Please see Sam's question from earlier.

  • Connie from Quantico, VA asks
    In past Forum's it's been asked if VRE will add another afternoon Train in the future? -- such as a 2pm or 2:15pm or 2:30pm train? Do you know if this is in the future and approximately when? Thank you.

    VRE Response
    Great question Connie.  When we added the train on the Fredericksburg Line in November of 2015, our goal was to put it in the window between 301 (Departs Union Station at 12:55 pm) and what was 303 (Departed Union Station at 3:35 pm).  Unfortunately, due to the volume of Amtrak trains and freight trains in that window, the best we could do was the current 303 (Departs Union Station at 3:10 pm).  We will continue to look for opportunities to get something earler in that window, but we have no plans in the near future to change the current schedule.


  • joe from Spotsy from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    With all the work that has been done on the tracks, why does the ride seem to be more bumpy and rough? I also would like to pass on a kudo. It is always nice that the conductors are friendly and know your name.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Joe.  The third track project is still underway, so it may be contributing to a rougher ride, but we'll share your concerns with CSX.  

  • Wilfred from Fredericksburg, Va asks
    I have been a VRE rider for 10 years. My question for you Is when are you going to address the other side of the "queuing problem? The chronically late passengers who wait until the train is ready to depart for the next station, then they jump up and hurry to get off. they do They this every single day. These hear the announcements, and they know the doors in their car will not open at the platform, meaning they must walk forward or back to the center of the train. The train is delayed departing for the next station because of these people. Sometimes they push the Passenger Needs Assistance button to keep the train from pulling off. Is time you address this as well. This is an everyday occurrence. Its time to bring fairness to the problem.

    VRE Response

    Let's get queuing taken care of first.  If the aisles are clear, and passengers don't stand until the train has departed the station prior to their destination, then there is no issue either way.  If someone misses their stop because they are sleeping, or not paying attention, that is entirely on them.

  • Sam from Bristow VA asks
    At Broad Run Station there's an intersection at Piper Lane with the VRE access road. The intersection is dangerous because of overgrown foliage. Can you please have Prince William County cut back the foliage? Thanks.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the heads up Sam. We're aware of this and have reached out to PWC to repeat their great work from a few years ago. As an FYI, we'll be out at the Broad Run station for the afternoon service on July 12th.  PWC police will be with us to listen to additional feedback on that particular parking lot to help address some of the concerns we have received from passengers. 

  • Looking for a sign from Leeland Forest Estates, virginia asks
    Where is the new signage your promised last year? Signs are faded beyond readability. Come south to Brooke to see. The current signage design is feckless. How about a redesign of the pocket schedule. It would be easy to make the covers different so one knows whether it is north- or south-bound.

    VRE Response
    Several of us ride from Brooke everyday, and we are aware of the faded signage.  Brooke will be one of the first stations addressed with the new sign package, and we will let you know when we have a firm timeline for the installation.

    The pocket schedules have NORTHBOUND and SOUTHBOUND along the vertical edge. If you have an idea that would make it more clear, please drop us a note at

  • Frank from Atlanta asks
    It appears that when someone is hit by a train that the investigations are taking way too long. Has VRE and other agencies tried to get a better way to keep these from going on and on ? When Amtrak hit the CSX workers the passengers who had no part in the incident were kept on train apparently several hours unnecessarily. Then VRE had the incident on the Manassas line. Fortunately was not on either train but have been in past.

    VRE Response
    Good question, Frank.  Every situation is different and the circumstances can help dictate the length of the resulting delay.  Location, jurisdiction, accessibility, and the nature of the incident/resulting investigation all play a role. VRE works with all of the area's first responders to help familiarize them with our equipment and the challenges of responding to incidents on the railroad.

  • Carlos from Springfield, Virginia asks
    Why do your Conductors ask Law Enforcement Official's questioned out in the open for others to hear? I don't like exposing myself to everyone on the train, that I am Law Enforcement nor revealing myself often in attire. I wear partial uniform like so many others as long as I show my Credential's.

    VRE Response
    Not sure what you are asking Carlos. Uniformed Law Enforcement may ride free, however, if you are not in uniform, you are required to show a valid fare, just like every other passenger.  Please give us a call or write in to and we will discuss your specific case.

We hope you have recovered from your Independence Day celebrations and thank you for tuning in to another monthly edition of the online forum, where senior VRE Operations Management - Rich Dalton, Deputy Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer, and Chris Henry, Director of Rail Operations, spend the next hour answering as many service related questions as possible. Also joining us in the studio are essential managers from Keolis - Paul Garnett, Chief Mechanical Officer, and John Winans, Chief Transportation Manager. Be sure to ask them specific questions.

Monday, July 3 marked the beginning of enforcing our "Standing Means Detraining" Anti-Queueing policy. If you are standing when the train stops at the station, you will be asked to step off the train. We will not leave the station until you get back on. Some of our passengers have missed their stop due to queueing and this is our effort to ensure everyone can alight at their desired station.

Now that we have that out of the way, onto the questions!