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VRE proposes to switch service providers from Amtrak to Keolis


On Friday, Virginia Railway Express’ (VRE) operations board announced it’s recommending the agency award a five-year contract to Keolis Rail Services America to oversee commuter-rail operations and maintenance services.

The contract, which would include two five-year renewal options, covers train operations, locomotive and rail-car equipment maintenance and repair, yard operations and warehouse management. VRE’s existing operations/maintenance contract with Amtrak — which was issued when the agency began operations in 1992 — expires on June 30, 2010.

The contract with Keolis would be more cost-effective, said VRE Chairman Chris Zimmerman in a prepared statement.

“Keolis has a proven track record as a major European provider for public transportation authorities, safely operating over 5,000 trains daily and providing service to over 360 million passengers annually,” added VRE Chief Executive Officer Dale Zehner.

The Northern Virginia and Potomac and Rappahannock transportation commissions, which oversee VRE, will consider the contract at their Nov. 5 meetings. If the pact is approved, Keolis would assume operations on July 1, 2010. A transition period would exist from Dec. 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, VRE said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2009