Skip to Main Content

Passenger Safety

In the event of an on-board emergency, always remember the three rules:

  • Rule 1: Stop

Don’t attempt to leave the train on your own. In most circumstances, that’s the most dangerous thing you can do. The tracks may be active with other trains in motion around you. The safest place for you is on the train. If you can’t stay in a car, walk calmly to another car that is unaffected by the emergency. Don’t try to evacuate yourself from the train without help from the train crew.

  • Rule 2: Look

Look for a member of the train crew and report any emergency immediately; or use the emergency intercom. The sooner the crew knows about an emergency, the sooner they can act to control it. Don’t activate the train’s emergency brake. Once the emergency brake is pulled, the crew must reset the brakes before the train can move, again, reducing their options for dealing with an emergency. Use the emergency brake only when the forward motion of the train presents an imminent danger to life and limb.

  • Rule 3: Listen

Listen to instructions from the train crew or from rescue, fire or police personnel. The crew has been drilled in emergency evacuations and knows how to proceed. Stay calm and remain seated. Crew members will help you exit the train swiftly and safely if an evacuation is necessary. Usually moving to another car on the same train is all that’s needed to ensure your safety.


On-Board Train Emergency Instructions



  • Use the passenger intercom to contact a train crew member.

  • Listen for announcements.





  • Train doors on the ends of the cars can be used for evacuating the train.

  • Exit the train only when directed.

  • Emergency exit windows are clearly labelled with instructions.



  • Move to an unaffected car.
  • Remain inside - trains might be in motion on the other tracks.
  • Follow instructions of emergency workers.
  • Locate the fire extinguishers & emergency tools in each passenger car.
  • Do not activate emergency cord.


  • If a passenger is in distress, notify a crew member immediately.
  • If you are medically qualified and able to assist, identify yourself to the crew.


  • Notify the crew of any unlawful or suspicious activity on board your train.
  • Train crews can contact the police en route.



At VRE we take safety very seriously. From the parking lots and garages to the platforms and the trains, you can stay safe by practicing these 18 basic stafety steps:



  1. Do not walk on train tracks or on ballast.
  2. When on foot, cross tracks only at designated pedestrian crossings.
  3. Behind the wheel, cross only at highway at-grade rail crossings.
  4. Never go under or around crossing gates in the lowered position.
  5. At the stations, stay behind the yellow bumpy tile on the edge of the platforms.
  6. Stay as far back from the edge of the platform as possible when trains are passing through.
  7. Never attempt to get on or off a moving train.
  8. Use seat back handles and handrails when walking though trains.
  9. Never leave children unattended.
  10. Hold your child’s hand when boarding or exiting the train.
  11. Do not block railcar doors from closing.
  12. Never lean on rail car doors.
  13. Do not stand between railcars or on stairs while the train is moving.
  14. Park in designated areas only.
  15. Have your car keys in your hand as you approach your car.
  16. Always lock your car.
  17. Never leave valuables inside your car.
  18. If you drop something on the tracks, do not try to retrieve the item yourself.


Safety On Board

When boarding any VRE rail car please familiarize yourself with the safety information and emergency procedures displayed on board. And remember that our train crews are specially trained to help you stay safe in an emergency situation.

In the event of an emergency, you can notify a member of the train crew through the passenger emergency intercom unit. Each car has three of these, on in each onboard restroom and one on each side of the vestibule stairs.

Train evacuations are extremely rare. Historically, most VRE train evacuations have been related to passenger medical emergencies.

Each train car is equipped with emergency tool kits. These are located in the gallery car stair wells. Each kit contains a fire extinguisher, pry bar, a hacksaw, a glow stick, and a first aid kit.

Each train has at least one automatic external defibrillator (AED) in the cab car. AEDs can restore the heart’s normal rhythm to a person experiencing sudden cardiac arrest until paramedics arrive.

In case of emergency, remain calm and follow the instructions of the train crew.

Thank you for your cooperation. With the continuing support of our riders, we can sure a safe, pleasant commuting experience for everyone on board the VRE. For more information on train safety and all other customer inquiries, please call (703) 684-1001.

Be Aware

Watch for the unusual. If you encounter unattended packages, devices or vehicles left near station entrances or stairways, or persons acting in a suspicious manner, notify the VRE conductor first. Call 911 if the conductor is not immediately available.

Be Informed

Read the safety information posted by the VRE. Learn the emergency procedures on trains and platforms and the locations of emergency exits. Introduce yourself to the conductor on your regular daily commute and remember his or her name. Pay attention to the National Homeland Security terrorism alerts.

Be Prepared

Develop a plan in advance to maintain contact with the other members of your family in the event of an emergency. Select a third party outside the region as a contact so that family members can relay messages to one another. Keep a copy of all your emergency contact information and update it frequently. If you have health conditions that emergency medical personnel would need to know, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace.

Be Safe

Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation. If someone or something is making you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to move out of the immediate area. When on the train, alert the conductor of the situation. When on the platform dial 911.If you can, warn others and help them to safety.

Be Smart

Stay calm, think clearly and listen for conductor announcements. In an emergency, tend to your own well-being first, then assist fellow passengers. Follow the orders of police, fire department and other emergency officials quickly and quietly.



Train Evacuations

Train evacuations are extremely rare. In the event of such an incident our train crews have been trained extensively on safe evacuation procedures from the bi-level gallery cars.

Each trian car is equipped with emergency tool kits, located in the gallery car stair well. Each kit contains a fire extinguisher, pry bar, a hacksaw, a glow stick, and a first aid kit.

The emergency windows in the bi-level cars are easily identified by a red handle with instructions. By pulling the red handle, you are removing the window’s weather stripping. The windows can then be placed inside the car, away from the exit window. The upper level emergency windows are positioned so that they are not directly above the lower level emergency windows.

Exit Options

If possible, move to the next rail car through the emergency doors at the end of the rail car. Make sure that there is another rail car attached beyond the emergency exit door before stepping through. Exit the train through vestibule doors, located in the center of the train car. These are the doors that were used to board the train.

Exit the train through one of the emergency windows (this should only occur if you are unable to evacuate through a door). There are four emergency windows on the upper level and four emergency windows on the lower level of each bi-level car.