August 31, 2006 3:14 PM
This message is for all VRE riders:
IMPORTANT SERVICE INFORMATION FOR SEPTEMBER 1 - PLEASE READ THOROUGHLY
Just when we thought that we were getting a break from Mother Nature, it appears as if she is poised to strike again. Predictions currently show significant rainfall beginning late tonight and continuing throughout the day tomorrow. As we learned all too well in late June and early July, heavy amounts of rainfall can be damaging to a railroad. We hope that this storm will not have as significant an effect as the ones that we had earlier this summer. However, if the current flash flood watch is escalated into a flash flood warning, we will see some significant delays, particularly on the Manassas line.
Flood restrictions, similar to heat restrictions, are applied differently by each railroad. CSX's policy (Fredericksburg line) is to reduce passenger train speeds to 40 mph. Cumulative delays into Union Station or Frederick sburg (depending on the direction) could be about 20-30 minutes. Norfolk Southern's policy (Manassas line south of Alexandria) is to reduce passenger train speeds to 20 mph. Cumulative delays into Union Station or Broad Run (depending on the direction) could be more than an hour.
In light of this, we are making preparations to make any problems that may occur less stressful for you. Specifically:
-> We are actively monitoring the weather conditions and maintaining open dialogues with our host railroads.
-> An update will be posted to our website and to 800-RIDE-VRE and a Train Talk sent by 4:30a tomorrow.
-> Updates will be broadcasted at the station. (We recently visited every station to ensure that the PA and signs were operational. However, a power outage at a station will prevent us from making live announcements.)
-> The media will be alerted. We have heard that WTOP (103.5 FM) and WFLS (93.3 FM) tend to be most likely to issue VRE updates. Keep in mind that if there are significant road issues, the media may not be able to provide VRE updates regularly.
There are also things you can do to ensure that your commute goes according to plan.
-> Be sure to check our website or your email before heading out the door. If you are one of our passengers who leaves the house earlier than 4:30a, listen to the traffic reports while you are on your way to the station.
-> Leave ahead of schedule to give you plenty of time to get to the station, in case you need to take an altenate route. BROAD RUN passengers - with the probability that Piper Lane may be flooded check our website at http://www.vre.org/s...rualternate.pdf for an alternate way in.
-> Dress appropriately. Non-slip shoes will help you stay on your feet.
-> Hold on to the hand rails on that train and station stairs.
Again, we hope this plan is all for naught. Either way, we'll be talking to you bright and early tomorrow morning.
For the latest information, don't forget to check out the VRE web site at: http://www.vre.org/ .