VRE Opens $52.7M Overhaul and Upgrade Facility


THE VIRGINIA RAILWAY EXPRESS (VRE), Alexandria, VA, has opened its new Lifecycle Overhaul and Upgrade (LOU) Facility, which will allow the agency to perform expanded maintenance onsite in Spotsylvania County, VA.

The LOU features a drop table to remove locomotive and railcar trucks and wheelsets; wheel truing machine to reprofile rolling stock wheelsets; overhead bridge crane with two lift points—one with a 5-ton and the other with a 30-ton capacity; and two tracks, each holding up to four locomotives or railcars. At 33,000 square-feet, the LOU can accommodate technological advances to both railcars and locomotives, as well as the machinery used to maintain VRE’s rolling stock.

rural railway facility

“This facility, a decade in the making, allows VRE to maintain locomotives and railcars at the highest level of reliability throughout the lifecycle of the equipment until the end of their useful life,” said VRE Operations Board Chair James Walkinshaw. “The LOU will provide significant savings by eliminating the cost of transporting rolling stock to other repair sites and reduce the time our equipment is out of service.”

Partnering in the development of the facility were the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DPRT). VPRA’s purchase of the east side of the rail corridor allowed for additional tracks to be laid and construction completed faster.

“Working with VRE on construction of the LOU furthers our efforts to provide consistent and convenient rail service to the commonwealth,” said DJ Stadtler, VPRA executive director. “The facility will provide necessary support to the commuter rail teams who work every day to ensure Virginians have the safest and best possible experience while riding the rails.”

railway drop table
The VRE LOU drop table.

“The LOU is the largest single investment in a VRE station or facility in the rail system’s 31-year history,” said Jennifer DeBruhl, DRPT director. “Through the commonwealth’s $11.7 million commitment to this project, along with a $1.7 million VRE local match, this partnership was able to leverage more than $39 million in state-of-good-repair funds from the federal government. This facility, which supports our ambitious $4 billion Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative, is a testament to the power of partnerships.”

The facility’s $52.7 million budget included construction of the LOU building, acquisition of 19.5 acres of adjacent property, construction of three additional storage tracks and upgrades to electrical power and water distribution systems.