Thanks for spending another Wednesday afternoon with us on the Forum.  If your question was not answered, please submit it to We hope you have enjoyed your summer and as a general reminder, school is back in session throughout our service area. Please be extra cautious!

We will see you back here next month!


Rich, Chris, …et al.

  • Paying Too Much from Money asks
    Can we get some consistency with checking tickets? Some conductors check others too busy chatting with each other and with passengers.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for your comment. Keoils managers will address.

  • Ben from Lorton, VA asks
    Is it the first Wednesday of the month? Does that mean football season started?

    VRE Response
    Yes, it started last Thursday with UCF's win over UCONN 56-17; but season started when Texas A&M beat Northwestern State 59-7...........

  • Norrey from Franconia asks
    Ever get that resolution with Metro about parking fees? Ever think outside the box by running a shuttle service from a nearby parking lot? You used to run a shuttle when the elevator was down for years that I never saw anyone use.

    VRE Response
    Great idea Norrey, but there is already a bus which will bring folks to the station from the nearby mall parking lot.  This was brought to our attention at Meet The Management by a rider who claims it saves her significant money each month.  We included this in an article in last month's RIDE magazine, check it out:

  • John from Springfield VA asks
    When will you start giving the why instead of the what is causing the consistent delays on the Fredericksburg line in the morning commute. Providing the why is better justification than your constant statements that you ask for our patience and you are sorry for the delay. Safe and on time should be your only goal!!!!

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the feedback John.  Our primary goal is getting everyone to their destination safely.  We always try to make sure we can do so in accordance with our schedules.  

    Operating in the situation we do, there are many variables outside our direct control.  On the Fredericksburg Line, there is currently a project underway to replace a large amount of railroad ties in the interest of keeping the tracks properly maintained.  The most recent delays in the form of speed restrictions are a result of this work.  Once the ties are replaced, speed restrictions are placed on all trains, on the specific track, until enough tonnage has passed over the area to ensure the work has properly settled.  Right now, the restrictions are on Track 2, which is the track used by all of our stations from Fredericksburg through Lorton.  This means VRE trains may be seen traveling under speed restrictions, while some Amtrak and freight trains which travel through the area on Track 3 may be seen operating at normal track speed.

    All that being said, this emphasizes the importance of the third track work, and the second platform work being planned for those stations to increase the flexibility to operate around some of the areas where track work is being completed.  Please visit our website at to check the status of some of these major projects.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    I am a long time VRE rider and many years ago, when there was a delay of at least 10 minutes, an announcement would be made on the platform. How come VRE doesn't do that anymore? It is useful for people who don't have a smartphone to check the status and the monitors are not everywhere on the platform

    VRE Response
    Davin, we'll make sure the announcements are made frequently enough to keep everyone properly informed.

  • Kevin from Fairfax, VA asks
    It was brought up before, and again at the "Meet and Greet" at L'Enfant VRE Station a few months ago, but has there been any progress in extending the waiting area at L'Enfant. Right now, before each train comes, people are walking on the yellow line by the tracks (safety hazard) to avoid cutting through the lines of people. The alternate method of going onto the grass often doesn't work because it's usually dirty/muddy and/or puddles, which just messes up shoes/pants/train. It's a pretty easy fix to just extend the concrete about 4-5 feet back for a 40 foot length and give people a path to walk that doesn't make you fight through the crowd or straddle the tracks. Easy win, right? Thank you!

    VRE Response
    Yes, we do have this on our list of projects. We are currently completing design and plans for constructability.

  • Dave from Manassas asks
    There's a large metal cover plate on the ground at the loading area outside the Manassas garage that appears to be so badly rusted that it has lost all it's paint. Not sure what it covers, but perhaps it could be checked for safety..I'd hate for someone to put a foot thru it.

    VRE Response
    We will look into this. Thanks.

  • Michael from Bristow asks
    Good afternoon, Recently, trains pulling into Union Station sit idle on the platform for quite some time before the doors are opened and passengers are allowed on. Yesterday, passengers riding Train 331 waited for approximately 15 minutes before being allowed to board. Any idea behind the seemingly recent change?

    VRE Response
    We'll check into this. Thanks for the specific train detail.

  • Scott from Fredericksburg asks
    It seems that the 3rd track project is stalled. There is a ton of work that seems only partially done. What is the status?

    VRE Response
    We anticipate the 3rd track work between Arkendale (Brooke Station ish) and North Possum Point (Quantico Station ish) to resume next spring.

  • Blake from Woodbridge asks
    When are you putting parking counts for Woodbridge online?

    VRE Response
    We hope to finalize all parking counter installations and testing this month.

  • Allison from Brooke, VA asks
    Is PTC ready for primetime? How slim are the chances it won't be ready? Do you have a backup plan if it's not ready by the deadline? Or just no service?

    VRE Response
    We are currently working to have PTC fully implemented by the end of this calendar year. We will provide more precise updates the closer we get. Thanks.

  • Davin from Woodbridge, VA asks
    In the last 2 weeks of August, I avoided Metro and boarded at Union Station. One afternoon, at 4:25, the board showed Train #311 instead of Train #309. Tell Amtrak to put the right train information on the board. Also, one day Amtrak delayed Train #309 into Union Station because they were occupying the tracks. They should know better than to do that.

    VRE Response
    Thanks Davin, we'll ask Kim to address these.

  • Laura from Burke, VA asks
    Your train delays log shows that of the 44 train days in July and August, 328 has been late 33 times in the morning. It used to be pretty reliable, but now there's a real problem. Is there any hope on-time performance will improve? There seems to always be congestion at Union Station, so if the schedule is unrealistic shouldn't it be adjusted?

    VRE Response
    You are absolutely correct Laura.  The issue with 328 is related to our use of the storage track at L'Enfant for 326 and the persistent signal issues in the tunnel going into Union Station.  In normal circumstances, 328 would utilize the northbound tunnel into Union Station, allowing 326 to come out of Union Station through the southbound tunnel.  As it stands, we have effectively been single tracking into and out of Union Station which has caused delays for 308, 328, and 310.  This has been addressed with Amtrak, and they are actively working to resolve the tunnel signal issues.


  • Clint from Stafford, VA asks
    Articles about cute Hello Kitty Trains and Wonder Woman? Why are you forcing a feminist agenda on me? Just keep the trains on time. Nobody reads your fake newsletter anyways.

    VRE Response
    No specific agenda Clint, just stories about trains and local happenings.

  • Billy from Manassas, VA asks
    New to VRE. Appreciate the riders who answered my questions about the system.Thanks for the service.

    VRE Response
    Welcome aboard Billy.  We're glad your fellow riders have been helpful in teaching you the ropes.  If there is anything else you need, please call our office at 703-684-1001, or drop us a note at

  • Bid D from WB asks
    Is the standing means de-training policy still in effect? On the next to last car on the 300 express people stand prior to Alexandria for Crystal City and L'Enfant. They make it difficult for others to get off especially with their back packs on.

    VRE Response
    Still in effect, and always will be.  We will let the conductors on 300 know to keep an eye on this.

  • Constant Victim of Backpacks from Woodbridge, VA asks
    I get hit with a backpack at least twice a week, I realize not everyone reads these online chats, but maybe a courtesy flyer. Also the quiet car needs better signs, the clear ones, no one sees - especially tourists.

    VRE Response
    We'll add a reminder on the backpacks in RIDE magazine.

  • I like to sleep from 9pm to 6am asks
    Please stop sending us text messages so early in the morning about this forum. Service disruptions - yes. Regularly scheduled updates - no.

    VRE Response
    We have automated announcements go out at 6 pm the day before the forum so passengers may begin submitting questions.  The early one on the day of the forum is to simply remind everyone.  We will move the morning message to a little later in the morning.

  • from asks
    I take 324 and ride in the quiet car (do not have the car # but the car in question is on the right as I on-board that car) and there is a constant rattle that disturbs the otherwise quiet ride. It sounds like a knock and only when the train travels on unlevel/undulating ground. Could be a loose hanger in a cabinet? Please check on it. Thanks.

    VRE Response
    Will do.  Thank you for the feedback.

  • Willis from Manassas asks
    Could you please explain to us why the extremely hot weather seems to cause trains to be delayed in being brought to the platform at Union Station and also why, once the train does arrive on the platform, the doors are often not opened for 2-5 minutes after the train arrives and the passengers are left to swelter in the heat. Thank you.

    VRE Response
    The trains leave the storage yard as soon as the pre-trip work is completed;  there is no intentional delay.  Once at the platform, the doors should be opened and the train made available for boarding.  If this is not happening, please let us know specifically which trains and the Keolis Transportation Managers will address with the train crew.

  • Dave from Manassas asks
    Any idea when the monitors will be repaired/replaced at Manassas city station platform (by the garage)? They've been inoperative since a storm some time ago. Also, can something be done to better communicate when the trains will be delayed (particularly in the afternoon)? I don't recall hearing any announcements at L'Enfant until well after the trains are noticeably late...if then.

    VRE Response
    Dave, we just checked the monitors at Manassas and they appear to be working properly.  We have a technician headed to Broad Run this morning, so we'll have him stop in Manassas and verify functionality.  On the communications side, we'll put out a message at the station as soon as we know a train will be delayed coming out of Union Station.

  • Gwen from Fredericksburg asks
    Is it possible to put a ticket machine on the other hallway where the elevators are located for those of us who are senior? Now we have to validate and then walk back over to the side with the elevator . Thanks for considering

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the question Gwen.  We'll look at putting a validator in the area of the elevator as we upgrade the Ticket Vending Machines (TVM).  Not sure there is adequate clearance in the area for a full-sized TVM.

  • Tim from FBG/VA asks
    Asked a question several months ago regarding the potholes in Lot F in Fredericksburg (Irish Brigade). Heard nothing since and potholes are still there. Perhaps adding a "Forum Follow Up" to the magazine where you can post follow up information regarding forum questions and concerns?

    VRE Response
    We contacted the lot owner in June and requested that they have their lot repaved sometime over the summer while the weather is good. We too noticed they have not done so. We are following up with them again. Thanks.

  • Michael from Annandale, VA asks
    A few quick ones (I hope): Any updates on an agreement with WMATA regarding the parking fees at Springfield? Like, should I be writing my elected officials? What's the status of being able to use Smartrip cards at ticket machines for payment? (I remember reading that VRE was investigating that option some time ago) App feature request to consider: Include what track at union station the trains are departing from. Are the new storage tracks at L'Enfant improving efficiency? What's the history behind train 300 not making all the stops? I never really thought about it until I was standing on the platform waiting for a delayed 302 and the 300 whizzed by and I wondered why they couldn't pick us up. Any updates on the Long Bridge upgrade/replacement project? Thanks, and thanks to the crews for making my commute as pain free as possible!

    VRE Response
    We believe we have a plan in place to address the parking fees at Springfield for VRE riders;  we'll communicate with our riders as soon as we have worked out the final details with WMATA.

    We continue to look for ways to become more interoperable with the SmarTrip card, but no solution yet.  The upgrade we are currently undertaking for the ticket vending machines gives us an option for contactless card payments, so if we can get the details worked out, we'll already be set with the functionality.

    We are also working with Amtrak to include the Amtrak trains on our station monitors.  The Amtrak Passenger Information Displays in our gate area at Union Station include track information. 

    The use of the storage track at the north end of the L'Enfant station has allowed us to eliminate two deadhead moves per day as we had been storing the train at Broad Run.  Once we begin utilizing the storage track to the south of the station, we will be able to lengthen some train sets to add capacity to the system.

    Train 300 making limited stops has several purposes.  When adding the train, the peak demand was early in the morning, so we wanted the train to operate an early schedule.  By making the first train out a limited stop train, we were able to decrease the headway between the morning trains so the second train could follow immediately behind.  We were also able to shorten the trip time for the early riders with the longest commutes.  Since the majority of riders board at the southern stations, the limited stops by 300 ensure available seats on 302 and 304 for the passengers who board at the stations further north.

    Long Bridge update:


    Thanks for the great questions Michael.

  • Robert from Fredericksburg asks
    There was a time when the monthly Online Forums were useful and informative - over the last year so so, it seems like VRE doesn't enjoy hosting or participating anymore. Are the folks answering questions being forced to do so?... The answers are often curt, short, and non-engaged.

    VRE Response
    Robert, we're still the same ones answering the questions as we have done for at least the past 7 years.  We enjoy the opportunity to interact directly with passengers, whether it is on the Forum, at Meet the Management, or on our daily commutes.

    If the answers seem short, we're simply trying to get to as many as possible within the hour.


  • Ray from Manassas asks
    Not a question just a thank you. Last Friday was my last day of commuting as I retired. Thanks to the crews of 322, 331, and occasionally 333 when MARC got me to Union late. I made it through the leaf oil, trespassers, floods, hurricanes, and an earthquake. Mostly VRE was on time.

    VRE Response
    Thank you Ray for being a VRE rider.  We wish you nothing but the best in your retirement.


  • Are You Ok? from Manassas, VA asks
    I choked on a french fry and then was trying to recover from the automatic coughing reflect following. There were only 2 people on the car with me. The young lady gave me a look of disgust as if I had the plague and left the car; the man put on his earphones and closed his eyes. Neither had the common sense to even ask if I was ok. 'It ain't my problem' attitudes really suck; but if I had passed out, the train would have been late AND then it would have been their problem.

    VRE Response
    Thank you for the commentary.  We'll share it in hopes that others will take note and perhaps react differently.


  • Alex from Alexandria asks
    Are you going to fix the crumbled steps at the top of the Alexandria station (these are the stairs opposite the station).

    VRE Response
    Yes we are Alex. Our Facilities Manager is working on this now.


  • Rainman from Caroline asks
    I usually sit in the upper level of the train cars. When the conductors decide to check farecard validations, some of them will physically walk up to the second level and check, while other conductors will check from the lower level. It would be nice if they checked one way or the other for consistency. I have been wakened more than once from a lower level conductor despite the fact that my farecard was visible if the conductor would have walked up to check validations instead. Thanks.

    VRE Response
    Thanks for the comment Rainman.  When possible, the conductors should be walking upstairs to check tickets.  The Keolis Transportation Managers will reiterate this in their morning briefings this week.

  • Question from the SAT asks
    Two trains running in opposite directions cross a man standing on the platform in 27 seconds and 17 seconds respectively and they cross each other in 23 seconds. The ratio of their speeds is?

    VRE Response

  • Fred from Broad Run, VA asks
    I only signed up for Manassas line text alerts but also get some for the Fredericksburg line, especially for heat restrictions. Why? Also, when I subscribed it said I signed up for a set number of texts per week. Does this mean that when the limit is reached I won't receive any more alerts?

    VRE Response
    Heat restrictions are generally just on the CSX tracks, so since both of our lines operate on CSX tracks from Alexandria north, the messages go to everyone.  Drop us a note at, and we'll check your subscription settings for you.

  • Joe from manassas asks
    Why is it that a deaf man can hear the automatic an announcements but you need to have Sonic hearing to hear the conductor with messages regarding delay of train

    VRE Response
    The automated and manual systems utilize the same amplifier and speakers, so the difference is either in the handset utilized by the conductor, or how the conductor holds and speaks into the microphone.  With specific train/car/conductor information, we can address the issue.

  • Mike from Spotsy, VA asks
    I had my bike loaded on the north most car on train 313 a couple weeks ago, as required. I was using a ticket to Franconia-Springfield Springfield Just as we were approaching the station, the conductors announced we would be on the No 3 track and would detrain from the middle of the train. It was real hard getting my bike through but thanks to someone who ran interference and an alert conductor, I made it off the train. There was no conductor in my car to ask about this -- what should I have done? Stay put and risk a summons? Barge through the cars and risk injuring someone? I have a mountain bike with wide handlebars, and could barely squeeze through next to the bike. Thanks.

    VRE Response
    Great question Mike.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  The easiest way to avoid situations like this would be to notify the conductor when you board at your destination.  This way, if the train is routed to a different track, the conductors will know to adjust which cars make the platform to accommodate your bicycle.

Welcome to the September version of VRE’s Online Forum.  Joining us in the studio today are the normal cast of characters, Tyreese from Keolis, Kim from Amtrak, and joining remotely is Brian from CSX.

Football season is here, so hopefully that means the end of heat related speed restrictions, and plenty of barbecue on the weekends.

The uncharacteristic system delays we experienced in July persisted through August.  While there are many reasons for the delays, the bottom line is we have been unable to maintain the on-time performance we have all become accustomed to.  Please understand, we are constantly working with our host railroads to minimize the delays and get a permanent resolution to some of the persistent issues.

We will address some of the specifics in the questions, so let’s kick off.