Gainesville VRE Extension Capital and Operating Costs Analysis


Virginia Railway Express (VRE) operates a commuter rail network that links Northern Virginia to Washington, D.C. As part of this network, VRE’s Manassas Line trains run on Norfolk Southern Railway (NSR) tracks between Alexandria and the end of the Manassas Line at Broad Run Station. The cost analysis evaluates costs associated with potential future increased Manassas Line service, including an extension that would take trains west from the Manassas Station toward Gainesville along NSR’s B-Line.

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A photographic image of a Virginal Railway Express (VRE) conductor in front of a stationary passenger train.


The 2020 General Assembly required DRPT to evaluate the operating and capital costs associated with an extension of VRE from Manassas to Gainesville. DRPT used VRE’s Gainesville Haymarket Extension Study (GHX Study), released in 2018, as a baseline for the 2021 analysis and built upon this earlier alternatives analysis with updated cost information and methodology considerations to produce an independent cost estimate.


The evaluation found that extending VRE service beyond an improved Broad Run Station would attract up to 7 percent more riders by 2030. The difference in capital investment would be at least $317 million more than an improved Broad Run Station, approximately 70 percent higher, with additional annual operating and maintenance costs of approximately $3.2 million more. This points to the conclusion that while a robust service expansion would yield higher ridership, there would be fewer returns for operating and maintenance costs as route miles are added beyond Broad Run.