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Friday, June 11, 2010

Amtrak to run VRE for another two weeks

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Amtrak will continue to operate Virginia Railway Express trains until July 12 at a cost of $335,000. Keolis, the French firm that won the operation contract last fall, has had problems getting its conductor and engineering crews approved to operate the trains. Initially, Keolis had hoped to hire the line's exiting Amtrak employees. That plan failed and delayed additional hiring.

The two companies have not signed an agreement, but both sides confirm the arrangement to run the commuter trains from Northern Virginia into downtown Washington.

According to a report in the Washington Examiner, VRE asked Amtrak to extend service on one of the two commuter lines, letting Keolis take over the third, but Amtrak agreed to all or nothing citing potential issues with union and nonunion crews interacting at Union Station.

VRE is asking Keolis to pay Amtrak's extended service costs.

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