VRE crafts contingency plan
Virginia Railway Express has crafted a contingency plan that asks Amtrak to continue service for two additional weeks if the new operator for the commuter-rail service is not prepared to begin on June 28.
VRE officials said they still believe Keolis Rail Services America will be ready to take over when Amtrak's 17-year relationship with VRE ends, however, officials said the Federal Rail Administration asked them to devise a contingency plan.
In a letter sent to Amtrak President Joe Boardman Wednesday, VRE Chief Executive Dale Zehner said Keolis will assume maintenance responsibilities by June 25 but it is unclear whether Keolis employees will complete "the rigorous qualification process" Amtrak has required for operations in and around Union Station.
Zehner said he would prefer to have a soft rollout if needed where Amtrak would operate the Manassas Line and Keolis the Fredericksburg Line for a few weeks. Zehner, however, said Amtrak has rejected this plan, forcing him to ask Amtrak to fully operate VRE through July 9 if needed. The estimated price tag to extend Amtrak's contract is $335,000, VRE officials said, noting they have asked Keolis to cover the additional costs.
| June 10, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
Categories: Commuter Rail, Commuting, Transportation Politics, Virginia Railway Express
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