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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Massive VRE delays

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

10:05 A.M. UPDATE: The combination train is on the move again. Train 332 will operate behind the train and pick up the remaining passengers.

10 A.M. UPDATE: Officials report that approximately 1,500 people are stuck at Burke Center.

9:30 A.M. UPDATE: VRE says 20 cabs are en route
to Burke to pick up passengers.

9:25 A.M. UPDATE: VRE officials say they are working on getting buses to Burke Centre to transport passengers. The Metro option is still open systemwide for VRE passengers.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:
An update on the VRE delays: Train 328 is 95 minutes late, train 330 is 60 minutes late and train 332 is 35 minutes late, according to VRE.

8:45 A.M. UPDATE:
Train 332 did not combine with trains 330/328 and is still very delayed behind the combined trains.

8:42 A.M. UPDATE:
The running start was successful, according to VRE. The combo train has cleared the hill. The trains are still incredibly delayed and should arrive in Washington sometime next week (just kidding, but they're still more than an hour delayed).

8:35 A.M. UPDATE:
Now train 332 is 25 minutes late waiting for the coupled trains 330/328. It cannot go around because of another broken down freight train, according to VRE.

8:20 A.M. UPDATE:
To clarify, the combined train 328/330 is too heavy for a single locomotive to push it up the hill near Burke Centre, according to VRE. So train 332 might have to couple with it, or the combo train will have to reverse in order to get a running start up the hill. Again, tht's from VRE.

8:10 A.M. UPDATE:
And now VRE just Tweeted that the combined train (coupled trains 330 and 328) are too heavy for a single locomotive, and might have to couple with train 332 or go in reverse up a hill.

VRE has opened the Metro Option for riders at the Vienna and Franconia stations. Just show your VRE ticket to station managers for entry.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:
VRE train 330 is going to couple with train 328 to push it into Washington. The coupling will take 20 minutes to undertake, according to VRE.

So this means train 328 is going to be 70 minutes late, while train 330 is going to be at least 20 minutes behind, according to VRE.

This seems as good a time as any to remind VRE riders that if you haven't done so already, take our survey on your VRE experiences.

VRE train 328 has been stopped between Manassas Park and Burke with equipment problems. If the problems can't be resolved, it will be coupled with train 330 and pushed into Washington.

Were you stuck on a VRE train this morning. E-mail us at

By Mark Berman  | November 23, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuter Rail, Virginia Railway Express  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Travel advice from AAA
Next: 3 injured in Metro bus accident


Well, I guess that explains why a VRE train has been sitting about 200 yards away from my bedroom office window . Just saw a freight train pass heading south.

Posted by: AlligatorArms | November 23, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Free Bernard Madoff!

Posted by: blasmaic | November 23, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

They announced that the coupled train was cancelled 5 times between 9am and 10am and that they were calling in 2 buses and 20 cabs to pick up 1,500 people. Now I finally get home after hitching a ride with another rider whose wife came to pick him up only to find out that 5 minutes after I left, the train is on the move? WTH VRE!!!! I had no idea that if the train was to begin running again they would continue on to DC. I would have stayed, I do have a job to get to after all. Although, since this is the same train that had mechanical problems yesterday evening and caused us to arrive 30 minutes late, perhaps I'm better off not relying on it to get me anywhere this evening either. Get your engines in order VRE!

Posted by: tink712 | November 23, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

VRE has decided that it's better to build more parking and extend platforms than buy the needed hardware to pull these people around. The VRE management is a failure and I think it's time for them to be held accountable for their actions, or lack of actions as the case may be.

Posted by: pramseycom | November 23, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

About the locomotives have been bought and the first deliveries to VRE have already happened. It will take some time to fully replace the old engines, but the process is well underway.

Posted by: Mainland | November 23, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Good to know that Metro is not alone.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

How about I got to work at noon today. =(

PERSONALLY: I don't want a brief account of what happened...I actually sat 3.5hrs during what "happened". I want compensation for my missed hours at work over the last few months....

Posted by: ManassasGirl1 | November 23, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

If management had just an ounce of knowledge they would/should have known the limits of the Locomotives and made an intelligent, knowledge based decision. You get what you pay for.

Posted by: 2akindofday | November 23, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

New locomotives have been bought but I believe that only one has been delivered so far and the others will not begin to be delivered until January and then I believe they will be delivered at a rate of one per month. The process may be underway but it's going to be awhile before all of the trains have new engines. Therefor, VRE needs to get their act together on the maintenance of the engines it has now. It is not acceptable for an engine to break down and either delay or strand riders every week. I pay a lot of money for them to get me to work, getting there on time would be great, not having to rely on alternate transportation plans once or twice a week would be best.

Posted by: tink712 | November 23, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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