VRE System Plan 2040 Brochure
Goals of the VRE System Plan
- Provide passengers with rolling stock, stations, and service maintained to the highest quality.
- Improve and expand service for current VRE passengers.
- Address emerging ridership markets.
- Advance VRE's role as part of a multimodal regional mobility network.
- Invest in partnerships to add capacity in multi-use rail corridors.
VRE's Growth Potential
VRE ridership has doubled since 2000, reaching 19,000 weekday trips in 2013. Over the next 25 years, VRE can more than double its ridership again by offering more choices to travelers in the region and delivering substantial mobility improvements in the congested I-95 and I-66 corridors.
System investments proposed in Phase I of the System Plan will expand capacity to carry up to 25,000 weekday passengers. More major improvements are identified for Phases II and III to support VRE service expansion by relieving critical operational bottlenecks such as the Long Bridge over the Potomac River and other water crossings as well as adding more tracks throughout the corridor. With these and other investments, the long-term growth potential for VRE rises to 50,000 weekday passengers to keep pace with identified demands for service.
System Plan Capital Investments
The VRE System Plan provides for the logical, incremental expansion of VRE infrastructure and service. The plan includes an initial set of recommendations linked to VRE’s six-year Capital Improvement Program, to address short-term growth needs. The System Plan also identifies a set of longer-term capacity improvements that offer wide-ranging VRE, intercity passenger rail and freight benefits including expansion of the Alexandria to L’Enfant railroad corridor, the Long Bridge over the Potomac River, and triple-tracking of the CSX-owned Fredericksburg Line. VRE will supplement these major efforts with investments in stations, rolling stock, storage yards, and maintenance facilities as well as extending service into new markets such as the Gainesville-Haymarket area.
System Plan Service Improvements
As the planned system investments are completed and new railroad agreements put in place, VRE will gradually increase the number of weekday peak period trains, initiate reverse-peak service, and expand offpeak service. Full bi-directional service will enable VRE to provide greater travel options for riders, more efficiently use equipment, crews, and yard facilities, and maximize the overall cost effectiveness of its operations.
VRE's Future Travel Market
Projected population growth in the VRE servicearea will continue to increase demand for commutertravel in the corridors served by VRE. The SystemPlan investments will enable VRE to serve a higherpercentage of these work trips to Washington, DCand northern Virginia activity centers, and also tapseveral significant new markets, including reversecommute, off-peak travel, and the Gainesville-Haymarket corridor. Without the railroad capacityto allow VRE service expansion, increasing traveldemand would result in worsening highway congestionand deteriorating VRE service levels, while otherprospective travel markets in the region would remain unserved by VRE.
Railroad Capacity Challenges
VRE is poised for continued ridership growth,but achieving that growth is dependentupon partnerships to expand capacity withour host railroads: CSX Transportation,Norfolk Southern, and Amtrak. VRE trainsrun on tracks owned and operated by thehost railroads. Phase I of the System Planwill maximize the number of trains VREcan operate under our existing agreements,which effectively limits VRE capacity toabout 25,000 weekday passengers. Railroadcapacity investments proposed for Phases IIand III will provide the additional capacityneeded to enable VRE to carry up to 50,000weekday passenger trips by 2040, which is consistent with identified demand.
VRE's Role in the Regional Rail Network
With the service improvements realized through VRESystem Plan investments, VRE becomes a critical link inthe regional rail travel network centered on WashingtonDC. Better integration of VRE with MARC andAmtrak services will enhance travel for longer-distancecommuters as well as for business and leisure travelers,offering more attractive and varied alternatives to travel bycar. Enhanced connectivity to Metrorail and other highcapacitypublic transit services improve the reach of railthroughout the region.
VRE is a Cost-EffectiveInvestment
Improvements in VRE capacity can be achieved in lesstime and at a comparable cost to other highway and rapidtransit projects constructed in the region. Investmentin the railroad corridors will enable VRE to provide arush hour passenger-carrying capacity equivalent to twotraffic lanes in the I-95 and I-66 corridors while alsoaugmenting freight railroad capacity and supportingfuture expansion of intercity passenger rail services.