After nearly a decade of planning, a new VRE station in Spotsylvania County is scheduled to open Monday morning with a train departing for Washington at 4:57 a.m. Six more trains were slated to follow.
Crews are working through the weekend to put finishing touches on the terminal, southwest of US 17 and Crossroads Parkway, and preparing for Monday’s grand debut, which includes mid-morning ribbon-cutting festivities. VRE and county officials say the station is an important milestone in VRE’s expansion plans, which also include adding a station at the Potomac Shores community, south of Woodbridge, and extending the Manassas line to Gainesville and Haymarket
But Monday is a win for Spotsylvania.
“The value of the station to Spotsylvania County is unbelievable,” county Supervisor Gary F. Skinner (I-Lee Hill) said during a radio interview last week with Town Talk host John Batchelor, of WFVA. “Hopefully we can bring agencies down here and get good jobs down here…I believe you will see more development coming all along the (route) 17 corridor.”
The project will benefit county commuters who now travel to Fredericksbug to catch the Washington-bound train, and county and VRE officials say the new terminal also will attract new riders, helping reduce traffic on Interstate 95. They project as many as 1,200 Spotsylvania residents will use the train within six months of operations.
The new station extends service south of Fredericksburg, one of the system’s busiest stations.
VRE officials say the new station will fill a growing demand for service in central Virginia. The station, with a parking lot with space for 1,500 vehicles, will also help fill the need for more parking. The parking facility at the Fredericksburg station fills up early.
“There will be plenty of ways to get to the station and park there,” VRE’s chief executive Doug Allen said on the radio show last week.
Officials talked about building the station for nearly eight years, recalled Skinner, who also serves on the VRE Operations Board.
VRE built the station with ADA-accessible platform, ticket vending machines and restrooms for a cost of $4.1 million. The county acquired the land and built the parking, which also includes designated motorcycle spaces. VRE officials said final estimates bring the county’s cost to $10 million, including between $1.5 million and $2 million for the land.
Like many other transportation projects, this one too had its delays and setbacks.
“There have been a lot of things that we had no control over,” said Skinner, noting weather delays and problems acquiring the property. “There was a certain point when I stopped saying when we are going to open because every time I said something it was delayed another month, two months, six months… I truly can say that we will open it and I have been assured that we are ready to go.”
VRE plans to add an additional train later this year. Current riders should expect only minor schedule adjustments, VRE said.