VRE to add daily roundtrip train on Fredericksburg Line
To better support social distancing on platforms and trains, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will add a round trip to its Fredericksburg Line schedule effective Monday, July 27. “We are closely monitoring ridership on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas lines and will adjust service as the number of passengers grows,” said Rich Dalton, VRE’s acting CEO. “We have seen enough of an increase on our Fredericksburg Line to warrant an additional round trip. These two new trains, along with other measures, will allow us to continue to protect the health and safety of our passengers and train crews.”
Train 300, which departs Spotsylvania at 4:54 a.m., will take commuters northbound and train 307, which departs Union Station at 4:10 p.m., will carry them southbound. These two trains will supplement VRE’s reduced-service “S” schedule, consisting of eight daily trains on each of two lines, which the commuter railway implemented on March 17 in response to the current health crisis.
The new morning train will reduce the number of riders on what currently is VRE’s first northbound train of the morning, where the number of available seats is approaching 50 percent. The afternoon train will serve as an alternative for riders of two trains, where the number of available seats is about 40 percent.
In June, VRE installed decals on its platforms and in rail cars to support social distancing. Onboard graphics now indicate where passengers should sit and stand in and guide them to window seats in every other row to ensure proper distancing. These measures reduce the number of available seats, on average, from 130 to 45 per rail car.
VRE’s Train Utilization Trends web page has been updated to reflect total seats, maximum capacity to support social distancing, and current daily ridership. This information serves as a decision-making tool for passengers who want the greatest amount of distancing. VRE also is exploring ways to notify passengers when trains are at or near capacity.
A new train-cleaning process and the installation of hand-sanitizer dispensers on trains and platforms complement VRE’s social-distancing measures. VRE’s Mobile app allows riders to purchase and validate tickets on their smartphones, thereby avoiding contact with ticket vending machines on platforms.
The 13th largest commuter rail service in the United States, VRE’s mission is to provide safe, cost effective, accessible, reliable, convenient, and customer-responsive commuter-oriented passenger rail service. The 4.5 million rides the railroad provides annually in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. remove some 100 million vehicle miles from the region’s interstates. Learn more at www.vre.org.