Archive for August, 2011

Train Talk August 30, 2011 2:09 PM

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Train Talk:Weekly Newsletter
August 30, 2011 2:09 PM

The following is in this edition of Train Talk:
1) Monday Sept. 5th, Labor Day – No VRE Service
2) Security Blanket
3) Communication
4) Monthly Passes

1) Monday Sept. 5th, Labor Day – No VRE Service

Monday Sept. 5th is Labor Day. There will be no VRE service. Service will resume Tuesday, September 6th.

More about Labor Day – from the US Department of Labor website:

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

2) Security Blanket

Labor Day is next week, signaling the end of summer. For some of you, this means thinking about the kids’ after school care. If you don’t already know, VRE offers a “Security Blanket” for those with children in daycare. Most places charge a late fee picking up your child after a certain time, with some charging a dollar for every minute you’re late, and those extra minutes can add up fast. But don’t let that stop you from riding VRE, because VRE cares about being on-time just as much as you do. So much, in fact, that VRE will take care of any extra late fees for childcare due to our tardiness. VRE’s “Security Blanket” policy is a guarantee that if you take a VRE train that is scheduled to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your daycare’s closing, we will get you to your station within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.

If we don’t, we’ll reimburse your daycare late fee. Sound easy? It is. And you can use this service up to four times each year. In order to take advantage of this program, simply fill out the “Security Blanket” form at Then, mail it to VRE along with copy of your daycare late fee receipt and a copy of your ticket. Within 30 days, we’ll mail you a check. You won’t see this kind of guarantee from I-66 or I-95!

3) Communication

As many of you may have experienced, during extensive delays when multiple Train Talk messages are quickly sent out, regional communications networks and servers sometimes get bogged down and some passengers received their messages late. While Train Talk will continue to be our chief method to disseminate information for normal delays, if you notice that you are receiving messages long after the fact, please remember that we put out the exact same information in multiple formats.

During heavy delays like we experienced with the earthquake on Wednesday we have found that our homepage alert box (, our Twitter page (!/VaRailXpress) or, during extreme delays, our Facebook page (!/pages/Virginia-Railway-Express/53836370185?sk=wall) are all more instantaneous when it comes to relaying information.

Also, since we are conveying general information to over 10,000 riders, if you read your messages but still are unsure of what is going on, please email us at or call our office at 703-684-1001. We’ll do our best to clear up any confusion.

4) Monthly Passes

This is a reminder that all passengers must board the train with a valid ticket. If you are a monthly ticket holder and you forgot your ticket you, too, must still board the train with a valid ticket. Monthly ticket receipts do not count as a pass.

Please purchase individual tickets until your monthly pass has been found to make sure that you are boarding with a properly validated ticket. Once you locate your monthly pass, we can then refund the tickets that you used. Please keep the validated tickets with the original receipts.

To request a refund, please fill out a Refund Request form which is available on our website at Please send us this form along with a your ticket and receipt to:

Virginia Railway Express
ATTN: Refund
1500 King Street, Suite 202
Alexandria, VA 22314

Any rider who boards the train without their monthly ticket or without a properly validated ticket is subject to a civil penalty of $100 plus court costs.

For the latest information, don’t forget to check out the VRE web site at: If you would like to unsubscribe yourself or change your
delivery information, simply go to the VRE website at .

Copyright (C)2011 Virginia Railway Express (VRE)

Train Talk August 30, 2011 11:07 AM

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This message is for Franconia/Springfield Station riders:

Power has been restored to Franconia/Springfield which means the elevators, lights, and TVMs are now back in service.

Thank you for your patience.

Train Talk August 29, 2011 3:29 PM

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Power is still out at Franconia/Springfield, elevators are not in service at this time. Dominion Virginia Power is working to fix this issue.

Train Talk August 29, 2011 5:58 AM

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Advisory for VRE/Amtrak Cross-Honor Step-Up Ticket Passengers:

Morning Fredericksburg Line Amtrak northbound trains 86, 174, 84 and 94 will not be operating this morning. Morning Manassas Line Amtrak northbound #176 is cancelled.

For afternoon southbound service for Amtrak trains on either line, please call 1.800.USA.RAIL for updates as Amtrak restores service today.

Train Talk August 29, 2011 5:41 AM

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Dominion Virginia reports that the power at Franconia/Springfield station is out.

Train Talk August 28, 2011 6:08 PM

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

This message is for all VRE riders:

VRE will operate on its full schedule on Monday, August 29. Due to some commercial power outages along the Fredericksburg Line, there may be some minor intermittent delays due to signal outages. However, CSX and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are working to resolve those issues as quickly as possible.

Train Talk August 26, 2011 10:42 AM

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Train Talk:News You Can Use
August 26, 2011 10:42 AM

Hurricane Irene

The National Weather Service has issue a Tropical Storm Warning for our area in advance of Hurricane Irene. With that in mind, we wanted to share some of our storm information with you. Unfortunately, there is not much to tell. Simply put, we are in “watch and wait” mode.

However, we are keeping in constant contact with our host railroads: CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Amtrak. We are securing our yards and are making arrangements to ensure that our fleet is fueled and ready to go on Monday morning.

As you know, the safety of our passengers both on our trains and platforms is important to us. Your safety at home is important too. Please be sure to secure or bring in all loose items from your yards, porches, patios, etc. Make sure you have plenty of batteries and a portable radio.

VRE will update everyone, via Train Talk, the website, our 800-RIDE-VRE (743-3873) number, and the media by 6:00pm on Sunday night.

For the latest information, don’t forget to check out the VRE web site at: If you would like to unsubscribe yourself or change your
delivery information, simply go to the VRE website at .

Copyright (C)2011 Virginia Railway Express (VRE)

Train Talk August 26, 2011 8:54 AM

Friday, August 26th, 2011

This message is for Union Station riders:

We have just been informed that the Union Station escalators on 23/24 track are out of service. We will update when they are back in service.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Train Talk August 25, 2011 5:02 PM

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

power outage at fredericksburg station, no TVMs, no elevators and no lights

Train Talk August 25, 2011 11:46 AM

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Train Talk:News You Can Use
August 25, 2011 11:46 AM

Flash Flood Watch for Entire VRE Service Area

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch from noon today until tonight. Showers and thunderstorms will develop today and could be widespread this afternoon and into this early evening. These thunderstorms may be capable of producing heavy rainfall, including a band of showers that is capable of producing in excess of two inches in just a couple of hours.

Should this watch turn into a Flash Flood Warning, the railroads will automatically impose flood restrictions. And yes, I can hear the collective groan from our Manassas Line riders! Experienced riders will know that this will mean speeds of 15mph on the Manassas Line and 40 mph on the Fredericksburg Line. If these speed restrictions are imposed today, your delay will depend on where the speed restrictions are imposed and how far down the line you are traveling. Delays of 60-75 minutes for end of the line riders on the Manassas Line (and the cancellation of train 335) are likely. End of the line Fredericksburg Line riders could expect 30-45 minute delays.

Ultimately, these are precautions that are taken for your safety. The attached picture (although small) shows an empty Norfolk Southern coal car that was affected when flash floods came through Alexandria several years ago. For a larger view, be sure to visit our website at

As usual, we will keep you updated as we get more information.

For the latest information, don’t forget to check out the VRE web site at: If you would like to unsubscribe yourself or change your
delivery information, simply go to the VRE website at .

Copyright (C)2011 Virginia Railway Express (VRE)