Thanks for all the great questions!

Since it appears as though Spring is here, our safety message this month focuses upon extreme weather. Conveniently enough, our area is currently under a severe weather warning and so we would like to remind our passengers to watch the weather reports carefully. Never drive through swiftly moving water covering roadways, treat all wires laying on the ground as if they were electrified and drive slowly when visibility is liminted. Make sure you get to your destination safely!

Remember that we do have a system wide schedule change next Monday, March 6. On the Fredericksburg Line, trains will depart Spotsylvania three minutes earlier and arrive Spotsylvania three minutes later. We adjusted some mid-line station departures by a maximum of two minutes on the Manassas Line.

The first public hearing is at noon on March 7 at the Crystal City Marriott and will continue for the two weeks after. Click here to see the full schedule.

See you next month!

Rich, Chris, et al.

  • Denise from Woodbridge VA asks
    Just a comment - Especially with Metro literally falling apart, I am committed to VRE, maybe until I retire. Best commute I've ever had!

    VRE Response
    We are glad to be an option while Metro continues its SafeTrack program.

  • Joe. from Woodbridge asks
    This morning's breakdown was handled well in spite of the communications issues on the broken 302 Train. I grabbed a waiting train at Rippon at 0645 and the conductor kept us continuously informed about the developing situation. Bottom line--you got us to work safely. I can't ask for better than that. Thanks again, VRE!

    VRE Response
    You are welcome Joe. Safety is our top priority. We understand that continuous announcements during service disruptions keep our riders' minds at ease and will continue to stress this with all our staff.

  • Chris from Virginia asks
    Can you explain why I would want to use the step-up option between VRE and Amtrak vs. just taking Amtrak straight to Union Station?

    VRE Response
    Amtrak Cross Honor trains are available to regular VRE riders as an alternative. There are times when Amtrak Cross Honor trains fit some riders' schedules better than the VRE trains. Also a nice option if you want to take advantage of the cafe car for some food.

  • Peter from Fredericksburg VA asks
    Why was train 306 delayed so significantly this morning when at least 1 Amtrak and 1 freight train were allowed to go around the disabled 302 and helper 304?

    VRE Response
    With the disabled train stopped and blocking track 2 basically between Franconia/Springfield and Rippon, train congestion quickly increased in both directions and trains have to be moved in a manner that will keep the network as fluid as possible.

  • Tom from Burke, VA asks
    I know that VRE doesn't control the Burke Center garage, but I hope you will pass this along to the county... Last week, for the first time, there was graffiti in the parking deck. Unfortunately, it was hate filled graffiti. It was gone in one day, but I fear it won't be an isolated incident. I'm hoping the county can increase patrolling the parking deck.

    VRE Response
    Good timing. We've been working with the police on this issue and even though we don't own or control the garage - the facility is associated with our name so we assure you that we take this seriously and will pursue it.


  • Richard from Gainesville asks
    What exactly is the current plan to address safety at broad run? It seems every month someone makes a comment about how inherently unsafe the parking lot is and how many drivers seem to disregard basic traffic law and show little regard for their fellow riders and pedestrians as they ignore them flying out of the parking lot, nearly running them over. Every time this issue is brought up it's stated that the VRE will "talk to PWCPD," but nothing ever seems to happen or improve. Are there any plans to address the safety? Perhaps we could have a marked patrol car in a visible location on a few days in order to get people to slow down and obey the stop signs in the parking lot?

    VRE Response
    We are aware of these issues and do communicate them to the police department. They are aware of the issues and we'll continue to work with them. Ultimately, even when they are on watch at the parking lot - it's a large facility and they cannot be everywhere. We expect our passengers to take responsibility to use care and be safe when entering and leaving the parking lots.

  • Davin Peterson from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why does it take so long to couple a train together?

    VRE Response
    See previous answered question.

  • C from Spotsy asks
    I'm beginning to see a pattern of train issues just right before the VRE Online Forum begins...maybe you should pick a better week than first Wednesdays?

    VRE Response
    Yes, this appears to be a pattern.

  • Fighting for Air from F-burg asks
    I've been a regular daily rider for the last 7 years. Love riding the VRE. Requesting a courtesy reminder. Most of the people that ride the VRE do not smoke. However, there is an inconsiderate minority of riders that do and quite often they are rushing to board the train right after they had the last drag on their cig and the odor is absolutely FOUL. The smell follows them around like Pig Pen from the Peanuts Comic strip and your fellow riders have to breath the stench. There are times when I have used clothing as a gas mask. I am asking for all of the non-smokers, PLEASE light up when you reach your destination not before you board a railcar.

    VRE Response
    Thanks FFA, we'll share your comments.

  • John H. from Woodbridge Virginia asks
    It seems that our express train is late pulling in to Union Station almost every morning. I see the new schedule has the express train still arriving at Woodbridge at the exact same time as before. How will this potentially help us get to Union Station on time, if we depart Woodbridge at the same time as always before?

    VRE Response
    The extra three minutes added to the schedules between Spotsy and Fredericksburg should allow the trains to meet the current schedule at all stations north.  The challenge was leaving late from Fredericksburg caused each train to struggle getting back on time as the trip progressed.

  • Sharon from Woodbridge, VA asks
    When is the elevator at Rippon going to be functional again and what type of ramp is being built there? Is that the hold up? Thanks.

    VRE Response
    The elevator modernization project was basically a rebuild from the ground up.  Our Facilities Manager has let us know that we should be able to re-open that elevator shortly.

    The ramp/stairs being constructed are to allow public access to the conservation area around the station and are not impacting the elevator project.

    We'll keep everyone posted on an expected opening date for the elevator.

    When walking down the steps in the Manassas parking garage can you please have signs up telling people not to push each other out of the way going down the steps. I was going down the steps in the Manassas parking garage to go to my car when some one was pushing me out of the way to get by me. we all need to show respect for each other

    VRE Response
    Courtesy announcement from a concerned passenger.

  • Connie from Dumfries, VA asks
    I was many VRE riders who was affected this morning on VRE 302 train. But I heard from passengers on the trains that followed us received FRC's -- but the car I was in did not receive a FRC. Will these be handed out this afternoon?

    VRE Response
    Connie, if you did not receive an FRC, please fill out the Free Ride Certificate request form on our website at and submit it.  Please follow all the instructions on the form. 

  • Jason from Bristow asks
    I would like to compliment VRE on the nice train restrooms. Somehow, you keep them smelling ok and they are fairly clean and have a hook for bags or coats. I often have to rush out the door to catch the train so the restroom comes in handy on the long trip to broad run. I don't mind they aren't on every car, doesn't bother me at all to walk back a few feet to the next car to use it. Gives me an excuse to move around. Thanks!

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the compliment Jason.  As we have ordered new cars, we have included restrooms in every car, so the number of restrooms on each train could increase.  We'll share your comments with the cleaning and maintenance crews so they know their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

  • W from Woodbridge VA asks
    On the old cars, where you have the two bench seats facing each other. Its only comfortable with one person in the opposite seats. If the train is not crowded and there are available seats elsewhere, can a 3rd and/or 4th person not have to sit there, as there is no leg room. This resulted in a big disagreement last week on the train. When there was a seat directly behind the facing seats - the man didn't want to move over and share. Next, there is a lady also takes up two seats because shes claustrophobic and gets mad if you try to sit there. If a person has a medical condition like that, are they allowed to do that?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the observations and questions W.  Passengers may not hold seats or refuse to allow other passengers to sit.  The facing seats are tough for 4 people, but that issue will be going away shortly when the last of the Legacy fleet is retired.

  • Arthur from Burke asks
    Can conductors do more to clear the seats while doing their ticket checks? All trains are now at or near capacity and there are still passive aggressive types who put bags or "stuff" on the seat instead of on the floor. No one wants to confront these people so they will continue until called on it. A simple "knock it off" PA announcement or a direction when conductors pass through to check tickets will work wonders.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Arthur, we'll ask the conductors to address.

  • Rider from Manassas Park asks
    There is a car that appears not to be a commuter car, but continues to move around the parking lot every few weeks (it stands out, so it is noticeable.) Is this something to alert police about? Are people allowed to squat on spots?

    VRE Response
    Cars are often left at stations for extended periods of time due to travel or other work requirements by the passenger.  If there is a specific issue you wish us to look at, please send the information to us at and we'll have the authorities check it out.

  • Brad from Fredericksburg asks
    Please ask the conductor on train 306/309 to limit his public announcements to a few seconds and to stop repeating the same message over and over again. Most conductors make short, helpful announcements that benefit a few riders. This morning, the constant, repetitive announcements and apologies, for a situation largely outside the VREs control, were no longer helpful; and when the entire train car full of passengers sigh in unison when he breaks squelch, clearly the message was heard and understood many announcements earlier. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    We normally get complaints from passengers stating there was no communication and they did not know what was going on during service disruptions such, we have instructed our conductors to make frequent announcements. As such, we understand there can be "over communication". We will continue to work with our Conductors to ensure we are providing information timely and frequently.

  • Edward from Burke, VA asks
    2 questions: At L'Enfant, there are 2 loudspeakers pointed towards where passengers line up to enter the second car but none towards where those lined up for the quiet car are located. We cannot hear announcements so would it be possible to turn the speaker that is closest to the engine toward us so we can hear the announcements? Secondly, is it possible to always station a conductor in the doorway for the car immediately behind the engine to communicate with the engineer to help him stop at the right spot. When the engineer overshoots the platform, the already chaotic scene boarding the train is even worse and slower.

    VRE Response
    1. We'll look at the speakers Edward and see if we can adjust one or the other.

    2. The conductor can help the engineer spot the train if necessary from any vestibule since they would do it by radio.  If there is an issue with a specific train missing their spots, please let us know and we can speak with the specific crew.

  • Rob from Woodbridge asks
    Glad I was early and 300 was a few minutes late (so I made 300). What happened with 302 and why did it clog up the line so long this morning (these types of delays are what worry me about riding the train - thought I guess it is no different than unexpected events on I-95).

    VRE Response
    A Train Talk this morning explaining the delay issue can be found at:

  • Dave from Woodbridge, Va asks
    Any chance in the future the 300 express will depart Spotsy a litte sooner that the change starting next week? This few minutes starting sooner will have 300 run right behind the early Manassas train again and it's arrival time in Crystal City, L'Enfant and Union Station will be the same. A little disappointed in the small change.

    VRE Response
    Dave, the challenge was getting out of Fredericksburg on time, which is why the change is being made to the segment between Spotsy and Fredericksburg.  300 should be able to meet the schedule at all other stations.  The intent was not to get 300 past Alexandria before 322.

  • Vienna Jordan from Hanover, VA asks
    Why don't you come up with a better/efficient way to handle an emergency. This morning (after 3.0 hours late) was a nightmare. Your directions were untimely and ineffective. The crowding in Woodbridge was a total safety hazard.

    VRE Response
    We apologize for the delays Vienna.  Unfortunately, each incident is different and the response to each incident is unique.  When we found that we could not simply couple trains, the recovery time changed to get signals adjusted on the railroad to allow the following trains to move out to Track 3.  The folks who were originally on 302, but ended up transferring to 304 at Woodbridge were delayed by just under 90 minutes.


  • James from Manassas asks
    Yesterday on Manassas line 328, a conductor was talking to a passenger the entire time between Manassas Park and Burke Center, a time period of about 15 minutes. I don't mind the conductors being friendly, but I can't help but wonder if there was something else that conductor was supposed to be doing during that time. If not, perhaps the trains have more conductors than needed? It's a bit of a slap in the face to see the VRE is thinking or raising rates when the staff have time to stand around and talk for large portions of the ride. Also, why have we heard nothing about the fare increase. I get text messages daily about the new schedules, but there has been little to nothing about the proposed new fares.

    VRE Response
    Thanks James, we'll share your comments with the crews regarding the conductors responsibilities.  As far as the proposed fare increase is concerned, we have public hearings scheduled and we sent out Train Talks.  Please visit our website here for the links.

  • No1UKnow from MPark asks
    Question about Child's rides- I have two children to bring to Bring your Child To Work Day. I usually ride the train. Can they ride with me (both under ten)?

    VRE Response
    VRE participates in "Bring Your Child to Work Day" every year.  We allow children to accompany their parents on that day.  This year's date is set for April 27, 2017.  We will communicate this through Train Talk, Facebook and Twitter.  And yes, you may bring both your children.

  • Emergency Gate @ Broad Run from Broad Run asks
    There are a lot of people using that emergency gate at the end of the platform; they are the same people that run across the parking lot and out in front of cars que'd to pull out in the street. It's sooo very dangerous. And these are also the people who have cars waiting on the side of the actual road for them; which is a whole other hazard when you are trying to pull out of the stop sign; and their driver 'guns' their engines to pull out. Really...can't we have something done about the really bad things going on at Broad Run? Pedestrians acting like morons; and drivers acting like they are part of the Daytona 500?

    VRE Response
    We have noticed the side of the road there is becoming an unofficial pick-up zone. We know the shoulders along the entire road are designated "No Parking" due to several factors; the airport runway and the lack of a paved shoulder among them. We'll reach out to Prince William County to help us engineer a solution and increase enforcement.

  • Ace from Woodbridge Va asks
    Why did VRE issue false notifications this morning re: 302 ? VRE sent out a notice at 6:25 saying it was going to couple to 3o4 & that would take 45 min. Then 302 limps into W'bridge at about 6:55 not coupled. Then without any announcement all passengers retrain 302 and by word of mouth we learn we have to cross over to opposite track to board 304. Then at 6:58 Vre issues a notification telling folks to board from track 3. Certainly VRE knew earlier than 6:58 that trains would board from track 3. When 302 detrained there were no conductors to be seen and no platform announcements either. And what about the FRCs?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment Ace.  We did issue a follow-up Train Talk after the disruption this morning to explain the change in plans, but in summary, the issue with 302 meant we could not couple as planned, so we had to go to the next contingency plan which was to get it into Woodbridge and route the other trains around it on Track 3.  The conductors on 302 were informed of the plan and should have made announcements as such, but it was a fluid situation.  We'll address this in our debrief call.

    FRCs should have been issued on 304, however, if the conductors were unable to do so, please send a request in to

  • Janet from Spotsylvania asks
    The building at the Spotsylvania station is much hotter than it used to be and in fact is hotter than is comfortable. Is it possible to moderate the temperature in this building?

    VRE Response
    Certainly, we will have our Facilities' Manager look into adjusting the temperature at this location.

  • Debbie from Broad Run, VA asks
    This morning you sent out a message to All Riders that the Metro Option was open. No details were given as to what the problem was or where. Instead of making All of your riders think there is a problem and should they just turn around and go back home, it would be nice if you have a little more details and address the message to the riders directly affected whether it be Manassas or Fredericksburg.

    VRE Response
    Delay information was posted on our website and sent out via Train Talk, Twitter and Facebook.  It is possible your account is set-up to only receive Manassas Line updates.  To help with any confusion, we'll try adding something like "Due to the delays on the Fredericksburg Line this morning, the Metro option has been opened..."

  • Vinny from Manassas asks
    The topic of question often elicits an abrupt, matter-of-fact response from you since this is an area you do not prefer to address. Last month you asserted that neither the Freddy nor the Manassas lines have priority at Alexandria when there is a 'tie'.at morning arrival times. Do you ride your own trains, particularly the Manassas line? If you did, you would quickly find that Freddy trains get the right-of-way almost always – perhaps always, even when the Manassas line trains arrive in Alexandria first. Please tell us why this is the case if neither line has 'priority' and why Manassas riders continue to play the usual and by now customary second fiddle to Freddy riders. You might consider riding your own trains for a week or two to get the first hand, "tie goes to Freddy" experience. You may find this informative. Can you objectively address this issue please?

    VRE Response
    CSX train dispatchers dispatch the trains in order they are scheduled to arrive. While they can see that two trains sometimes operate close to each other's schedules they can not always tell which train will arrive first, so the train normally scheduled to go ahead will be given the signal in front of the other train. If the delay for one train is great enough we will attempt to contact the dispatcher to give them a head's up. However, if the switch has already been pre-aligned, it takes 10 to 12 minutes to realign the switch, so sometimes one train will have to wait on another. While Manassas 324 passengers often have to hold for the Fredericksburg 302 train due to schedule and track pre-alignment, occasionally train 300 will arrive in Alexandria at the same time as 322 and they will wait for Manassas 322 to depart ahead of them. As we asserted previously, there is no preference over one line or the other.

    We do ride the trains everyday.  We have managers who ride from Spotsy, Fredericksburg, Brooke, and Woodbridge on the Fredericksburg Line and from Broad Run, Manassas, Manassas Park, Burke, Rolling Road on the Manassas Line.

  • Spotsylvania from VA asks
    Why can't you install another TVM on the north end of the Spotsylvania platform? The existing unit fails at least once a week. Yes I know that I could go to an electronic ticket but I like to sleep on the train.

    VRE Response
    We'll ask the technicians to take a closer look at that machine.  We are also looking at standalone validators which are much more cost effective than a full TVM, to help supplement the entire network.

  • Joe from Fredericksburg VA asks
    I hear rumors about a fare increase. Do you honestly expect people to pay more money for a service that has gotten worse over the past year and will only get worse.

    VRE Response
    Joe, you did hear correctly.  There is a proposed fare increase on the table scheduled for July 1, 2017. 

  • Jason from Fredericksburg,VA asks
    It seems for the last couple of months the trains, especially 302 seem to run consistently 5-10 minutes late. This increases the likelihood of missing the next mode of transportation causing a late arrival to work. I understand there are circumstances beyond your control. What I fail to comprehend is the lack of communication between the conductors and passengers. Nothing is more frustrating that sitting in a slow moving train without any explanation of why.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Jason, we'll ask the 302 to be a little more informative when experiencing slower than normal speed.  On the positive side, the schedule change (effective Monday, March 6, 2017) should alleviate some of those delays.

  • Pam from Fredericksburg asks
    Is there any way you could look into the traffic light that crosses Benchmark and Mills Dr? It seems to me that it takes longer than it should to change. This may not be the venue for such a question. If it's not, to what agency should I pose the question, VDOT?

    VRE Response
    This would be a VDOT question. They were timed recently when the station was opened - we'll look into the matter, but would recommend you communicate your specific concerns directly with VDOT so they can get first hand information.

  • Bob from Burke asks
    No biggie but just curious. For years, during the automated announcements, after the quiet car announcement finishes the safety announcement begins and then terminates after a few words. This happens after leaving Alexandria southbound on the Manassas line.

    VRE Response
    We just applied updates to the automated announcement system on all passenger cars this past weekend. As such, we believe this issue has been resolved.

  • Chris from Fburg asks
    Not really a question, more of a comment. I know other riders have addressed this issue, but it bears repeating. Please emphasize to the conductors that they should not hold the train for their buddies who mosey along for the train! Twice now I have watched them hold the train after the announcement that "the doors are closing" have been made and both times last week we got hit with speed restrictions! It's beyond annoying! Please!

    VRE Response
    Great comment Chris.  There's two issues: First, we ask passengers to be on the platform, with a properly validated fare prior to the train's arrival.  If that happens, we guarantee they will be able to board. Second, conductors holding trains for late arriving passengers unfairly delays the many passengers already on the train who were there on time.  Adding even 30 seconds to a station stop could result in 6-7 minutes delay for everyone else by the completion of the trip.  We'll reiterate this to the conductors.  We realize there are times when they are simply trying to offer great customer service and be empathetic, but their focus should be on safety and timeliness as well.

  • Matt from Fredericksburg VA asks
    Noticed that my e-ticket will now expire the second day of the month. Thanks for addressing this issue.

    VRE Response
    No problem Matt.

  • MJBucci from Leeland Rd asks
    Q1: when will the roof repairs be completed at leeland? Q2: when will FRed 310 have all new cars in the consist? I've been riding the rails since `95 and still going north in an outdated car. What gives?!

    VRE Response
    Q1- Replacement at Leeland Road is nearly complete with the exception of work on track side of canopy.  Coordination is ongoing with CSX to provide a Flagman in order to finish work. 

    Q2 - We expect new cars to be in service in April at which time the final legacy cars will be retired.


  • David from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Can you provide any update on when the last of the Legacy cars will no longer be dispatched, with all replaced permanently by the newer cars?

    VRE Response
    We anticipate receiving the new cars this month with the expectation of placing the new cars in service in April and we will then retire the legacy cars.

  • Mark from Alexandria, VA asks
    At what point is VRE going to stop being greedy? If my math is correct, your gross monthly profit is roughly 4 million dollars. And here comes another smoke and mirror - dog and pony show where your company holds another Town Hall meeting (to appease state law)and supposedly listen to "concerned" riders about another fare hike. Oil / Gas has remained the same (if not lower) than the price it was a year ago. I highly doubt operating costs have gone up that much to justify a 3 - 4$ fair hike. And here is VRE, being greedy. I doubt you will post this, because it doesn't make VRE look good. Keep raising fares, eventually you will have to raise tickets prices so much because you won't have enough riders to stay in business. Smart move. Remember, teleworking is growing, not shrinking, which means you will have less riders moving forward.

    VRE Response
    We appreciate your concern Mark, which is one of the reasons why we hold the public hearings, so those concerns can be shared in person.  We understand that no one likes a fare increase, but we only propose increases because they are needed. To clear up any misconceptions let me first point out the VRE is not a for-profit company. We are a government entity, and as such we are driven by providing a public service, not by generating a profit.  To be clear, VRE, just like all other public transportation providers, does not make a profit. Fare revenue of about $3 million per month covers just over 50% of our operating expense. The remainder of our operating and capital expense is covered from multiple sources including local jurisdictional subsidies, as well as state and federal grants.  Our operating expenses increase every year due in large part to automatic escalators in our operating agreements with the railroads and our operating and maintenance contractors. We are happy to discuss this in more detail at the public hearings, please see the schedule here

  • Mike from Burke va asks
    Fare rising...still no WiFi. Amtrak, Bolt bus, etc have been doing for years.

    VRE Response
    We would like to offer WiFi, but the technology/connectivity does not currently exist to allow us adequate signal to provide a quality service.  Yes, Amtrak offers WiFi, however, they have the same issues with connectivity as we would experience (on The Fredericksburg Line between Leeland and Quantico for example).  Amtrak is willing to accept those lapses in service because it is such a small segment of their overall network.  It is such a large part of the VRE network, we have chosen not to provide WiFi until we can ensure a quality service throughout our network.


  • Harry Council from Stafford, VA asks
    Are there any plans to expand to Richmond or Ashland?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Harry, we have no plans to extend the Fredericksburg line any further south than our current station in Spotsylvania.

  • Chris from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    Have you ever considered expanding your recycling receptacles to accept more than just paper (plastic/glass?)

    VRE Response
    We are in the process of ordering new recycling bins which will accept all recyclables.  The recyclables are sorted at an offsite facility anyway, so the need to separate them on the platform is no longer necessary.  Thanks for the questions, Chris.


  • Tim from Manassas, VA asks
    What is VRE doing to fix the awful VRE mobile app for Android?

    VRE Response
    We had to push out an update that was required by our app's credit card processor and since we were in the process of adding functionality, Trip Tools was taken out. In actuality, Trip Tools was just a link to our website, and our website is mobile friendly and can nicely render the status map or schedules. We are working to put the link to the website in the app so those who prefer the original set up may still access schedules and the status map that way.  We hope to have the new functionality and the website link back in the app in the next few weeks. 

    In the meantime, from your phone’s browser, you can go to and then simply save that as a shortcut on your phone’s home screen.  That will give you the same options and look you had in VRE Mobile.

Thank you for joining us for another edition of the Online Forum. On the first Wednesday of every month, Senior VRE Operations Managment, Rich Dalton - Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, and Chris Henry - Director of Rail Operations, answer as many service related questions as we can for the next hour.

Let us say first, we know we had a rough morning on the Fredericksburg Line. Hopefully you had a chance to read the follow up detailing everything that happened with a service disruption. These are fluid situations where circumstances change and plans have to be altered.

Again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  As with all operations, your safety is our top priority.

Please know we are starting Public Hearings this month for our proposed 3% fare increase and $2 increase to the Amtrak Step-Up ticket. We want to hear from you. Please visit to see the upcoming public hearing dates. We are happy to answer your questions here as well. Comments can also be made via email to

Now on to the questions!