Thanks for another round of great questions.  If we missed your question or you would like more follow-up, please submit to


Looking at the calendar for May, we have The Annual Customer Service Survey on all morning trains, Wednesday, May 2nd.  The following Wednesday will begin our Meet The Management events at Union Station.  Check for the full MTM schedule.


We'll see you back here next month,


Rich and al.

  • John from Freddy & Elsewhere asks
    Samantha and Michelle both had serious questions regarding certain of your conductors. True to past practice you fail to address the conductor issues and imply it is a safety or other issue. Please see for yourself how certain of your conductors fail to do their jobs every day by riding your own trains occasionally.

    VRE Response
    John, in this forum, we will answer questions regarding practices, procedures, and performance in a general manner.  We will not address the specifics of how we choose to address situations with specific individuals.  Personnel issues should not be discussed in a public forum.

    Chris and Rich along with other VRE managers and staff do ride the trains on a daily basis.  In addition, we have staff from PRTC, one of our parent commissions, Amtrak staff and management, and staff from several of our contractors riding daily to ensure we always have eyes on the operation.


  • Fred Rider from Fredericksburg asks
    The train in question with the conductors gravitating to one end is #309 and the conductors tend to gravitate toward the north end of the train on pretty much a daily basis -- do they really have this much business to conduct on a daily basis while the train is in motion? I have been nearly knocked over by a conductor with no excuse me, sorry nothing. I have been told by another passenger that they are talking music which is not a train issue the last I knew.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the follow-up. Tyreese will address your concerns with the specific crew members.

  • Big D from 300 Express asks
    Any chance in the near/distant future the 300 express can be moved up 10-15 minutes from it's current departure time in Spotsy?

    VRE Response
    Sorry D, no plans to alter the schedule anytime soon.

  • Dave from Fredericksburg asks
    Is there any way to get conductors to announce, and enforce, safety rules about leaving the center vestibule doors closed unless walking through or detraining? While the temperature outside does not immediately cause the car temperature to change drastically, that won't be the case shortly. Even worse are the conductors that hold the doors open themselves so they can chat with passengers.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the suggestion Dave. We will pass this along to our train crews.

  • Tammy from Springfield asks
    Hello - I asked last month about restriping the Rolling Road parking lot and you said you'd check with the responsible authorities. Any progress?

    VRE Response
    Our Facilities Manager has reached out to Fairfax County on Rolling Road and other stations to develop a plan for addressing the need for re-striping.  We just don't have enough information yet to give you an estimated timeline for the project.

  • James warner from Spotsylvania. Va asks
    Why does VRE not provide antibacterial wipes to help control the cold and flu during the season?

    VRE Response
    We did handout pocket sized dispensers of hand sanitizer at Meet The Management events in the past and each of the bathrooms onboard the train is stocked with antibacterial soap.  We do not have plans to install hand sanitizer dispensers.

  • BURNED-OUT & DARK... from Manassas Park asks
    There are numerous lights/lanterns out on the Manassas Park platform and on the sidewalks surrounding the platform this has been like this for two to theee weeks now. Can someone please replace the burned-out bulbs? And increase the schedule for checking them?

    VRE Response
    We did have a contractor investigate the issue.  They found a couple of tripped breakers which were reset.  Since this did not resolve the issue, they have an electrician looking into the root cause so we can get it fixed properly.

  • Robert from Lorton VA asks
    Why do VRE conductors enforce some policies but not all? Lately I hear "No sitting or standing in the stairwells." Yet there is a stated policy that is advertised that standing means detraining. That is never enforced and those of us at earlier stops have to crawl through people who could at least move into the vestibule to let detraining passengers get off more quickly. Also, please remind condictors that their communication devices are at OUR ear level when they walk through and to turn them down or wear ear buds (especially David on 303 Southbound).

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Robert.  The conductors should be doing their best to manage the trains in accordance with all policies, practices and procedures, including some of our courtesy related requests.  This morning, one of the Keolis Transportation Managers was on train 300 to assist the crew in addressing queuing concerns between Franconia/Springfield and L'Enfant.  We'll pass your comments on to Dave about radio volume.

  • Jerome from Brooke asks
    You should put speed bumps around the pedestrian crosswalk to the lower lot in Brooke. I almost got hit by this big truck with a pumpkin stripe down the side. Driver didn't even see me, just kept on driving.

    VRE Response
    You may get your wish Jerome.  Once we begin the installation of parking counters at Brooke, we may find the need to help slow cars down a little.  Stay tuned.

  • David from Manassas asks
    There continues to be an issue with certain conducters failing to do ticket checks on a daily basis. Riding Manassas 324 every morning, I can count on my hand how many times the conductor has checked tickets in the last month or longer. There are certain conducters that check EVERY DAY no matter what. You often state that "safe operation of the train" takes priority, but I question how some conducters still manage to check, while others spend thier time socializing instead!

    VRE Response
    Thank you David,

    Our policy is for every conductor to check tickets and manage the trains throughout the day. We will look into the situation.

  • Bob from Rippon asks
    Do you know when Potomac Shores Station is going to open?

    VRE Response
    Here's the latest from the developer at Potomac Shores:

  • Edward Liberatore from Burke, VA asks
    The VRE rider app fo the iPhone always crashes on me. I have tried to delete it and re-install but it still crashes. Is there a way to fix this issue or are you looking at updating your apps?

    VRE Response
    There is a known issue being worked on by the developer regarding the random crashing of the app.  A fix is in progress.

  • Missy from Broad Run asks
    Not sure if you are aware that last week at Broad Run train 329 started moving after the doors were opened and passengers were detraining. I was one of the people who was in the process of stepping down onto the platform as the train started to move. It was a bit scary.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for your comments. We will address.

  • Samantha from Leeland Road asks
    Apparently someone fell in the stairwell of a car recently and broke their finger? Since then we have been advised of the new rule - no standing or sitting in stairwells for our safety. Please understand that we all understand about safety. Please also understand that we are not 2 years old. If the person had fallen in the aisle or the vestibule, the restroom or just boarding/exiting the train, would we not be allowed to be in any of those areas? Dave, the afternoon conductor on #303, announces this new safety rule a ridiculous number of times each day and it is irritatingly offensive in it's message and it is really irritating when he doesn't enforce it with his friends who are sitting/standing in the stairwells. and, by the way, I ride many different trains due to a fluctuating work schedule and Dave is the only conductor I have heard pressing this new safety rule.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the feedback Samantha.  Not standing in the stairwells is not a new safety rule.  Passengers should never be standing in the stairwells because, as mentioned earlier, it blocks egress for passengers seated upstairs.  If Dave is announcing for passengers to not stand in the stairwells, it is probably because he has observed people standing in the stairwells.  Similar to other rules which are intended to help maintain a safe, comfortable experience for everyone, like our efforts to control queuing, the consistent application of these rules throughout the system is the most effective means of making a difference.

  • Alexander from Fairfax asks
    When do we get to see the responses from Rate My Ride?

    VRE Response
    We received an update from the developer this morning.  We should have static results in the next few weeks, but our longer term goal will be to receive the comments in real time so we can respond more efficiently to any comments submitted.  We will keep you posted.

  • Fred Rider from Fredericksburg asks
    Over the last few months, on the afternoon trains with three conductors, a couple of the conductors (if not all three) tend to gravitate two one end of the train between stops after Crystal City and then hussle like nobody's business nearly running into and over folks to get to their position just prior to the train pulling into the next station. Perhaps there is actual train business that they need to handle together, but every day and several times per trip but this seems to be a bit excessive. There have been times that the conductors have not gotten to their respective positions and issues arise.

    VRE Response
    Conductors should be continuously walking through the trains as a part of their normal duties, so they will often need to walk to their assigned door locations just prior to a station stop.  Other than periodic job briefings as necessary, there are few circumstances which would require all conductors to be in the same location.  If you see something specific you would like us to address, drop us a note with the specific train and date information to

  • Dick from Wilderness asks
    DC2RVA and "higher" speed rail sounds good and all but how much faster really will it allow VRE trains to travel? Ballpark the time it would cut off the trip from Spotsy to DC?

    VRE Response
    For VRE, the results of the DC2RVA study will not ultimately affect the speed of VRE trains. The frequent station stops for our service will mean very little impact to the VRE schedule.

  • Michelle from FBurg asks
    Train #303 has a conductor that loves to hear himself talk.He makes excessive announcements about 1) keeping all seats clear for passengers, then walks by offenders and doesn't address them, 2) makes EXCESSIVE announcements about no standing or sitting in stairwells, then stops to chat with his buddies who are standing/sitting in the stairwell, 3)dutifully checks tickets, then does not process any citations for people without valid tickets (and there are oftentimes 2 or more in the car). About the ticket checking, I have a curiosity - most afternoons he does not check them until Quantico or beyond....what about the large volume of passengers that have already completed their commute? And recently, he checked them before we left union station and not any further down the line - all the way to Spotsy??? Please help !

    VRE Response
    Thank you for your concerns. We agree we need to ensure our conductors are consistent in their management of their trains.  We will continue to look into these issues and to try to make your trip as pleasant as possible.

  • Stephen from Fairfax asks
    In the More Rides Nearby part of your app, when I click say Zipcar, why does it take me to the app store to download the app, when I already have the Zipcar app on my phone? I use an iPhone.

    VRE Response
    Not sure Stephen.  We believe it should take you into your ZipCar app.  Please drop us a note at with your contact information and we'll get an answer for you from the developer.


  • Paul from Manassas asks
    Thank you for providing your service. I couldn't live where I do without you. However, your communication today was lacking. You warned us an hour before the train departing it would be 3 cars short without even a generic reason, like mechanical issues. Even that little bit of transparency would have made me feel better while I crammed into your train today. I would have maybe tried to take the earlier train if you told us earlier. Oh and will there be follow up as to how this afternoon's trains will be affected?

    VRE Response
    Thanks Paul, we have been actively trying to resolve the situation described in the previous answer throughout the night to make sure we would at least be able to operate all trains.  The trade off between canceling a train versus operating was the need to shuffle the train equipment this morning, and once we knew for sure 330 was going to be a 5 car set, we immediately pushed the message out. 

    This evening's service will only be impacted by Train #335 (Departs Union Station at 6:10 PM) operating with only 5 cars instead of 6.

  • Sue from Burke asks
    I was unable to adjust my schedule and had to take the 3 car shorter than usual 330 train this morning so I braced myself for crowded conditions. Of all the times to enforce the standing means detraining policy (especially once we hit Alexandria when large numbers of people detrain), this would have been the time. When I got off at Alexandria, the conductor and maybe 10 people were standing on the platform. 10 - 15 more people were standing in the vestibule and I had to work my way past at least 5 people standing in the main aisle (didn't see what upper level was like). These people had no intention of getting off, made it harder for us especially at the back of the car to get off and the conductor was just standing doing nothing. It was a very frustrating way to end my morning commute when there is a policy for such situations that was not used.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the feedback Sue, we apologize for the inconvenience.  We experienced track and switch issues inside our Broad Run Maintenance & Storage facility last night. Our ability to move equipment around within the facility was limited throughout the evening while track crews worked to make repairs. As such, train # 330 was short 3 cars this morning, while train #324 operated with 2 extra cars. Tonight, train # 335  will be short 1 car.

    We agree proper management of the Standing Means Detraining rule was certainly necessary this morning.  We will address this with the train crews and Transportation Managers today.

  • Ripponie from asks
    Just want to say thank to the whole VRE team - management, office staff, all the conductors and crew on the FBG line (especially for trains 304/ 306/ 308 and 313/ 315) - your efficiency, smiling professionalism, and the comfortable ride are often the highlight of my long workday!

    VRE Response
    Thanks Riponnie, we'll share your comments with the whole team.  Thank you for choosing VRE for your commute.

  • Lisa from Spotsy asks
    Can you please review the speed bumps at the Spotsy Parking lot. They seem very high and causing dangerous situations. I stop and slowly go over them ( as everyone else does)it is causing concerns as people almost run into the back of others because we have to come to a stop before proceeding, even trucks. It is causing more concerns than I think you all realize. The Spotsy parking lot was just fine with no problems before the speed bumps. I've been riding the VRE from Spotys from day one and have never seen issues until you put those speed bumps in. Yesterday I was almost hit because of it. You really need to look at those speed bumps. In addition, the talk on the train this morning was how the speed bumps are causing alignment issues. It really needs to be reviewed. H

    VRE Response
    We will look for other options Lisa, the actual speed bumps installed were intended as a temporary solution until a more permanent option could be designed.  The only reason these were installed is because cars were far exceeding 35 mph in the lot, so clearly some form of traffic control device is necessary.

  • Marc from Leeland asks
    You said last year you were going to do a study on the WiFi for the train; I was wondering where that stands? Also, I believe you said someone was putting up a tower in the Ripon area; where does that stand?

    VRE Response
    Our IT department is working on a Request For Information to seek a potential solution for WiFi.  They hope to have the RFI out later this Spring.  There are plans for a tower to be installed near the Woodbridge station by a company working with Prince William County, but this is not a VRE project.

  • Concerned from Woodbridge, Va asks
    There seems to be a little less people crossing rt.1 onto Occoquan road prior to 5pm. But there are still the same 3 or 4 cars/trucks/suv's (silver Nissan Rogue, silver Toyota Tacoma, black Honda Accord, older model white SAAB) crossing illegally from the right lane.

    VRE Response
    Maybe the repeated efforts are working, we'll stick with it.  Thanks for the update.

  • Spotsy Rider from Fredericksburg, VA asks
    49 degrees this morning - looking to get warm on the train - and the AC is blowing.. WHY OH WHY would you begin to turn the AC on when it's not even 50 degrees outside... Walk through the cars - you'll see hats, ear muffs, blankets and people shrugged down in their seats... trying to retain some semblance of heat. This is an ongoing problem... I was told that VRE keeps it's cars at an 68 degree average. I brought a thermometer with me - try more like 63 degrees.

    VRE Response
    The cars are set to maintain temperature within a specific range.  Generally, the temperature will increase  between Spotsy and Brooke simply because several hundred passengers board.  If the temperature inside the car was 68-70 degrees when arriving empty at the Spotsy station, it would be uncomfortably warm by the time it departs Brooke. The system is also constantly compensating for the opening and closing of doors during station stops.

  • David from Policy Question asks
    The last week I've been on the 303 and we've been told not to stand/sit in the stairways. On all of the other trains no other conductors have mentioned this. Is this a across the board policy change or just on train 303?

    VRE Response
    We don't want anyone standing or sitting in the stairwells because it blocks egress for passengers seated upstairs.  Conductors on all trains should be addressing this as well as any other issues they see as they walk through the train in the performance of their duties.

  • Kathleen from Lorton, VA asks
    Two quick questions 1 Can you add recycling contain(s) to the L'Enfant station? If space is needed, the newspaper containers can probably be removed in this day and age. 2 Can you add the train location map to the mobile app. As a long time rider I can figure out faster in the morning if I can make a train by a quick glance at a map than clicking thru a bunch of pages.

    VRE Response
    Good questions Kathleen,

    1.The trash from all our stations is actually sorted for recycling regardless of which receptacle is used.

    2. On VRE Mobile we added a link to, just click the link and then click Train Status, the map will come up.  Another option is to open in the browser on your phone, select Train Status, and then save a shortcut to the page on your home screen.  Then it is just a single click from your phone's home page.

  • Phil from Broad Run asks
    This morning on the platform, near where the engine stops (train 322) one of your employees was openly smoking in this non-smoking area. Do you hold your employees to a lesser standard than you expect of your customers?

    VRE Response
    No special rules for VRE Staff or our contractors.  We'll address it Phil, thanks for the info.

  • Ann from Broad Run asks
    Train 327 has been a 7 car train for the last week and a half – will it continue as 7 cars rather than the former 6? If so is there any chance the last car on the train can be the odd car out at the Broad Run platform periodically rather than the quiet car as it has been every time since the 7th car was added? If not – why not, there must be a technical reason? It would seem to be a 50/50 call since the train can really stop anywhere.

    VRE Response
    Train 327 on the Manassas Line has been one of our most popular trains.  Last week we were able to add an 8th car to the train to help better accommodate the passenger load.  When the train arrives at Broad Run, it must clear the switch at the north end of the platform so we are not fouling the main line track.  This results in the quiet car off the platform at the south end.

  • Andrea from Richmond, Va asks
    Are there any plans to have a VRE station in the Hampton Roads or Richmond area?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Andrea.  At this time, VRE has no plans to operate any further south than the current Spotsylvania station.

    The Commonwealth of Virginia sponsors Amtrak service from the Hampton Roads and Richmond area to Washington, DC. 

    Visit for additional information or call them at 1800-USA-Rail.


  • Susan from Stafford, VA asks
    What are the guideline groups need to follow when they offer information or products in the parking lot or walkways leading to the platforms at the Station? Are there any guidelines concerning frequency and location are there any guidelines concerning frequency in location? Sometimes it feels like running a gauntlet to just enter or exit the station when they set up at the location where cars drop off or pick people up at Brooke .

    VRE Response
    There is one specific group which does frequently request right of entry at the Brooke station.  VRE does not have limits on frequency, but we do have guidelines on where groups may set up to not impeded vehicular or pedestrian traffic, while also staying clear of the actual platform.  Several of us ride from Brooke daily and are aware of the group.  Our experience with the group has been nothing but pleasant.  They stay to the sides of the ramp so passengers may access the platform, and are in the hashed area out of the driving lanes.  Interactions are generally nothing more than saying "Good Morning".  If your experience has been different than this, please send us a note with the specifics to, and we will address it with the group.


  • FRBG Rider from Fredericksburg VA asks
    Any way to do an announcement of wearing strong scent? I've hacked, coughed and runny nosed my way to work along with other fellow sufferers for too many years.. I've changed trains, cars, avail. I understand we can't control what stink people want to pour on themselves but just to make them aware that a lot of us have allergies... and please tone it down or stink it up when you get off the train.

    VRE Response
    We'll add this to our list of Courtesy Reminders, and get it out to the ridership.

Welcome to the April episode of the Online Forum.  Joining us in the studio today is Tyreese, one of the Transportation Managers from Keolis, as well as Brian from CSX and Kim from Amtrak.

We may have said this last month, but it is worth repeating; Hopefully the Winter weather is behind us and we can look forward to warmer temperatures and sunny skies.

We would like to apologize to those Manassas Line riders who endured the crowding on Train #330 this morning.  We have since sent a Train Talk out to explain what happened, and we'll also answer a couple of the questions already submitted this morning.

On to the questions!