Thanks for another hour of great questions.  Now that we are in the heat of summer stay hydrated.  See you next month. 

Rich, Chris, et al.

  • Feeling left out from Quantico asks
    Any pop ups happening anyone soon? I like free swag.

    VRE Response
    No need to feel left out.  We'll be doing pop-ups later in the summer and into the fall.  Quantico is on the list as we want to provide an update on the upcoming station improvements.  Stay tuned to Train Talk and for schedule updates as we firm up the calendar.

  • Kelly from Stafford, VA asks
    I know there isn't much VRE can do about the behavior of other riders, but perhaps pointing it out would help. When boarding the train, there are two sides to the board area; when you climb up on the left side of the loading area, don't turn to enter the right side of the car (and vis-versa.) When you do, you step right in front of other people loading on that side. Not only does it hamper the the flow, it's a bit like cutting in line. Maybe VRE could put some directional arrows on the floor, like they have at intersections.

    VRE Response
    We'll share the comment Kelly.

  • Rob from Rippon-by-the-Swamp, VA asks
    can someone trim the tree branch at the Rippon entrance off of Farm Creek that blocks your parking sign and is encroaching on the right entry lane... getting harder to avoid the limb since you installed the yellow poles on the street...

    VRE Response
    Thanks Rob, we'll ask our Facilities crew to check it out.

  • Rob from Rippon, VA asks
    used several FRC's last month... both old (expiring) and some new versions... over 50% of them triggered some kind of error print out although the validation appeared normal. and one of the newer ones would not validate at all...

    VRE Response
    Thanks Rob.  We are aware of the issue with the magnetic stripes on the FRCs generating an error receipt.  We have been working with a domestic supplier to save on our paper ticket costs, but the quality of the mag stripe seems to be an issue.  We'll continue to look for a quality solution that addresses the mag stripe issue and can still save us some money.

    Why are conductors allowing passengers to ride with their nasty feet on the seat and never say anything to them

    VRE Response
    Thank you for your comment. We will continue to monitor the situation and make sure the conductors address that issue.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    When will VRE replace the yellow tactile strips at L'Enfant Plaza?

    VRE Response
    The task order has been issued to our Contractor, so the project is underway.

  • JIM K from KING GEORGE VA asks

    VRE Response
    We'll look at it Jim and share your comments with Stafford County.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    Why does CSX decide to let a freight train operate on track #2 during the evening commute causing VRE to be delayed? Instead, they should have held their train and let VRE pass in front it. They know VRE's schedule

    VRE Response
    CSX does a good job of working with our trains during our service window.  Sometimes, however, they need to cross a freight train in front of us, or keep it moving to help keep the entire network fluid.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    When will VRE start using the side tracks at L'Enfant Plaza?

    VRE Response
    Good question Davin.  Our plan right now is to begin utilizing the North Storage track on Monday, July 9th.

  • Rob from Alexandria asks
    Is the planned metro station work at Alexandria going to impact access to the VRE platforms in Alexandria via King Street? In a recent press release metro indicated the entire station will be rebuilt (including parking lots, bus lanes, and the Platforms (which extend over King Street and the access point to VRE).

    VRE Response
    Good question Rob.  We have seen some of the early plans, but will work with WMATA and the City of Alexandria to see if we can get more details.  We believe pedestrian access along King Street will continue to be available throughout construction.

  • DAVID from Fredericksburg asks
    How come you didn't add more cars to the trains on the 4th. The early trains were ridiculously crowded. You guys should know by now that anytime there is a Government holiday the doesn't fall on Monday all the offices get let out early. You really dropped the ball on this one.

    VRE Response
    David, we did our normal swaps for the early getaway including adding cars to the midday and early afternoon trains.

  • Jennifer from Haymarket asks
    In the same vein that you restrict people from standing up to exit the train prior to their stop, why can't you require those boarding the train to take a seat if one is available, even if it's not the car of their choice? On Tuesday 327 (which was 20 mins late) it was standing room only on some cars because people with canes refused to sit down and therefore impeded the progress of those seeking a seat. I'm of the opinion that if you are using a cane you would want to sit.

    VRE Response
    You are correct, it is the same concept as queuing, Jennifer.  Anyone standing, whether they are trying to be first off at their stop, or whether they simply like to stand should follow the same rules.  If you are standing when you come to a station stop, step off the train to make sure anyone wishing to detrain can do so easily.  Then, wait until passengers have boarded and made their way to seats before re-boarding and resuming your trip standing. 

  • Cynthia from Caroline asks
    Why does your "Parking Availability" page look different than the others on the rest of the site?

    VRE Response
    Great question Cynthia. This is because the styling information (known to techies as the CSS stylesheet) for the Parking Widget is hosted with the Parking Data vendor, Parking Logix, not at the VRE website.  The styling information is over-writing the website’s styles, causing the different look. Several fixes have been identified and we’re currently trying to determine the best one to apply. 

  • Nathaniel from Spotsy,VA asks
    What happened to "More Rides Nearby" in the app?

    VRE Response
    We are working with Moovel, the app developer to transition VRE Mobile to a new and improved platform which will allow more add-in options.  In the meantime, we wanted to be able to show parking availability in the app, so the "More Rides Nearby" option was temporarily eliminated.

  • Cletus Delroy from Spotsylvania asks
    Missed an opportunity for the July 4th train. Since Jimmy Buffet was playing the Capitol, could have had him perform "Train to Dixie" on the train!

    VRE Response
    Great idea Cletus, We'll keep that in mind next time we operate the Firecracker Trains.

  • Alex from Fairfax asks
    Rate My Ride results?

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Alex.  We are working with the VRE Mobile developer who is having some issues getting us the feedback frequently enough to be meaningful.  As soon as we have a solution which will allow us to receive the input in real-time, we'll share it with you and get a dashboard up on the website.  We appreciate the patience.

  • Betty from Fredericksburg asks
    Tried calling your office the other day, waited about half an hour before I decided to give up.

    VRE Response
    Sorry for the delay Betty. We are a vey small staff, so during periods of high call volume, the wait times may be longer.  You can also contact us through email at, or subscribe to Train Talk for service updates.

  • Norrey from Franconia asks
    Any update on getting Metro to relieve the parking fees? Will it take longer than getting the elevator fixed? How long was that again? 2 years?

    VRE Response
    We continue to work with Metro on the parking fees at Franconia/Springfield and we hope to have a resolution shortly.  We will keep you posted.

  • Joe from Woodbridge asks
    What happened to Daily Download Archive for June?

    VRE Response
    It's there:

  • Paul from Dale City asks
    I went to buy an Amtrak Step Up ticket and was surprised it was more expensive. Vendor had no clue. Even your website says it's $7. Then I remembered you sent something out like a month ago.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Paul.  The website has been updated with the correct price.  Amtrak raised the cost of the step-up by $1 effective July 1.

  • Steven from Annandale asks
    Why did last month's forum get cut short?

    VRE Response
    Steven, last month we had some technical difficulties that delayed us a bit.  We did a test run last week for today's forum, so hopefully it is working smoothly for everyone.

  • Recovering from Meat Sweats, VA asks
    What's left to grill on July 5th?

    VRE Response
    We pretty much covered beef and pork yesterday, so this weekend we'll lighten things up with some chicken.

  • Courtney from Spotsylvania, VA asks
    Is VRE aware that the loudspeaker on the Crystal City platform for the last week has been emitting an ear-piercing screeching/scratching noise intermittently? On a different note, I think that VRE is doing a great job, and I feel very fortunate to have your commuter rail as a transportation option. My monthly pass is worth every penny when compared to the costs of gas, wear and tear on a vehicle, outrageous parking rates in the city, and the toll that I-95 traffic takes on the human spirit. Your trains are always clean, and your crews--always pleasant. In particular, I would like to commend Walter on the 307 and Hoover on the 311. Their friendliness and positive attitudes brighten up my afternoon, and they are wonderful representatives of VRE.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Courtney, we're glad you are enjoying our service.  Tyreese will share your comments with the crew.

    We know there are power issues at the Crystal City station and we have a technician who will be there prior to our afternoon service today.  We will ask him to check the audio system as well.

  • Brian from Manassas Park, VA asks
    This isn't a question, just a suggestion. Today I tried using my SmartBenefits for the mobile app for the first time, having switched from paper tickets last month. Entering the SmartBenefits number on the app, as shown on the instructional video, didn't work at all for me (it's probably the type of Android phone I have.) I tried both places (my account, and in the actual Buy a Ticket process. Nothing changed when I entered the number, no "Submit" or anything to indicate I had put enough digits in. Anyway, in the FAQs there was a question, something like "if I buy a ticket through, will it show up in the app?" So I went to that website based on that question, and successfully entered my SmartBenefits number into my account there, then I went back to the mobile app and used my account to purchase my ticket. But there was nothing else pointing me to that website that I saw, and I was getting really frustrated. So maybe the video should mention that, if you can't enter your number into the app, you can go to this website... Thanks, Brian

    VRE Response
    Great tip Brian.  We'll take a look at both the instructional video and the app to improve the message.  We're glad you got it worked out. 

    For everyone who has not yet switched to VRE Mobile: we are happy to walk you through the process of reallocating your SmartBenefits funds to VRE Mobile. Give us a call at 703-684-1001, or contact us at where you can schedule a time with one of our Communication Specialists to assist.  Just add SmartBenefits to the subject line.



  • albert from fredericksburg asks
    Why did you not run a July 4 train for families to go to DC for Jul 4th.

    VRE Response
    There is enough demand for the Firecracker Trains when the 4th falls on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday because most everyone does not have to work the next day and they don't mind returning to their origination stations at midnight.  When we operated the trains on other days, the ridership was very low.

  • Dale from Manassas, VA asks
    When you cancel my train due to mech failure why am I not receiving an FRC? Yes, the train I was on was on time; but the train I ride was late.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Dale.  If you were planning to take Manassas Line train 330 last Friday morning, but had to wait to ride 332 due to the cancellation, you can request an FRC by submitting an FRC Request form through our website:

  • Wifi Neutral from Dead Zone Tickets asks
    I've never really cared if there was an available wifi connection on the train; I have a mobile ticket and have been wondering what's with checking passenger tickets in the middle of a cell phone deadzone? I'm SURE that VRE is aware of where these locations are like...crossing the Potomac! Sometimes your ticket will not display without a connection; or did you not know that? AND what's with NOT checking tickets of Alexandria people in the AM. The same lady gets on the quiet car every day; I have only seen her ticket checked once in many months.

    VRE Response
    The VRE Mobile tickets are stored on the device, so no connection is necessary to validate or display the tickets.  The only time a cellular signal is necessary is when you actually purchase the ticket and it transfers to the phone.

    The Keolis Managers with us today will remind the crews to check tickets at random locations, including north of Alexandria in the mornings.  Always identify which train you are referencing.

  • Christine from Stafford VA asks
    Is there a plan to post signage, similar to the removable quiet car signage, that advises passengers to keep their feet off the seats, apply their makeup at home, clip their nails any other place but on the train where they let their clippings travel, take their trash with them, etc. Why people need to be told that their fellow passengers do not want to witness their personal hygiene habits or sit where their filthy shoes have been resting, I do not know. Maybe having signs up telling them to clip their nails in private would be helpful.

    VRE Response
    Great timing Christine.  We have a new campaign underway to replace the current courtesy posters at the stations which will include a "Dos and Don'ts" section addressing issues like feet on seats and grooming.

  • Chris from Manassas asks
    Every train seems to have a name in front - who are these folks? Also, will VRE ever have wifi? Thanks

    VRE Response
    Thanks for asking Chris.  Several locomotives have names on the front to recognize individuals who were instrumental in the creation and operation of VRE.  For more information, see our press release from 2015 on this subject.

    We have no immediate plans for WiFi due to the large gaps in cellular service within our service area.  However, we are putting out a Request for Information (RFI) to the market to see if there are any emerging technologies which may address the issue, or to see if there are other ideas on how to make it happen.

  • Kelly from Woodbridge, VA asks
    What is the best way to get in touch with VRE with questions or concerns? I've sent numerous emails to My emails go unanswered or I get a generic response (that leaves me asking the same question).

    VRE Response
    Our goal is to answer all GoTrains emails within 24 hours.  Our phones are also staffed from 7 am until 7 pm at 703-684-1001.  Try GoTrains again and put "Online Forum" in the subject line.  It will get forwarded to Chris and we'll get your questions answered.

Welcome to July’s edition of the Online Forum.  Joining us in studio today are Lance and Tyreese -  managers from Keolis, and Kim from Amtrak.


We hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Independence Day holiday.


Let’s get right to the questions!