Today the Virginia Railway Express' Fredericksburg Line is 25 years old today. Happy birthday!
Summer 1992 was a big year in Virginia transportation. The VRE's Manassas Line opened for service on June 22 (sorry we missed that one!), and the Fredericksburg line starting running on July 20th.
Traveling between Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Washington, the VRE provides commuter rail service between communities in Virginia and DC. Today, the VRE sees around four million riders a year and around 20,000 riders a day. A recent study noted that VRE service today carries more people than an extra highway lane on interstates 66 and 95 would. Beyond rail service, VRE produces its own magazine called RIDE to inform riders and readers about what's going on with the VRE.
The system is expanding as well. An extension out of downtown Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania County was completed in 2015, and another new station near Dumfries called Potomac Shores is now slated to open in 2018. A new pedestrian tunnel at Alexandria's King Street Station will make it easier to transfer between VRE, Amtrak, and Metro.
But VRE service is limited. It only runs during the weekdays at rush hour so a trip only makes sense to people with regular 9-5 jobs near DC. Recent plans to extend the VRE to Haymarket likely won't move forward leading the VRE to scale back some of its expansion plans going forward.
However, with planning underway to replace the Long Bridge across the Potomac river and the Virginia High Speed Rail set to speed up trains between DC and Richmond, the VRE could be poised to take advantage of railroad improvements across the region.
Do you use the VRE? What improvements would you like to see? Or do you just want to say happy birthday? Tell us in the comments.