Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at

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Expecting early commuter rush, VRE adding cars to trains

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With the federal government shutdown likely to send a pile of area commuters home earlier than usual, the Virginia Railway Express plans to run longer trains earlier.

The commuter rail service says it can’t change train schedules today, so it is doing the next best thing and adding cars to the trains that run in the early afternoon. The first commuter train is scheduled to leave Union Station at 12:55 p.m.

A possible option for commuters who need to leave earlier than usual, or between that first train and the next one (3:55 p.m.), might be able to hop on an Amtrak train using VRE’s “cross-honor” step-up option.

According to VRE:

The available Amtrak Cross-Honor trains are listed in the columns to the right of the VRE trains on our schedule page. Please be aware that Amtrak Cross-Honor trains make limited VRE stops; if you plan to ride one, please double check to make sure it makes your stop. We monitor the on-time performance of these trains and will send out notifications if the Amtrak Cross-Honor trains are late.

Here’s today’s updated VRE schedule, with the lengthened trains included:


301 (Departs Union Station at 12:55p) – 8 cars

303 (Departs Union Station at 3:35p) – 7 cars

305 (Departs Union Station at 4:10p) – 7 cars

307 (Departs Union Station at 4:40p) – 6 cars

309 (Departs Union Station at 5:15p) – 6 cars

311 (Departs Union Station at 6:00p) – 5 cars

313 (Departs Union Station at 6:40p) – 4 cars



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