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New VRE Chief Named As Ridership Drops Slightly


A new chief for Virginia Railway Express has been named, and he’s charged with expanding commuter rail service to places like Haymarket and Spotsylvania.

Richard Dalton will take over as Acting CEO of Virginia’s only commuter railroad upon the retirement of its current chief Dale Zehner on June 30.

Dalton since 2009 has served as the organization’s Director of Rail Equipment and Services and is credited with bringing forth new ideas to manage the commuter railroad’s recent spikes in ridership.

While progress on extending VRE from Manassas further west has been slow, officials are moving forward with a new VRE station in Spotsylvania after that county moved to join the VRE system in 2010. A third rail is being constructed to handle fright train traffic along the existing rail line, and officials told they hope the station could be open as early as next year.

Dalton will take over at a time when ridership on VRE – which was at record levels in 2011 – has reportedly dropped one percent between now and this time last year.


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