VRE Says Keolis Not Ready to Take Over Service

WASHINGTON – Keolis Rail Services will not be ready to take over operations of the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail service on its contractual start date of June 28, VRE CEO Dale Zehner said in a meeting with Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman.

Zehner asked Amtrak to continue operating VRE service for at least several weeks beyond the scheduled transition date, according to Amtrak. Keolis was selected to operate VRE services in October 2009.

Boardman said Amtrak wants to help VRE and ensure VRE passengers are not negatively impacted by Keolis’ inability to start operations. However, he said that if Keolis is unable to meet its contractual obligations, then VRE should re-bid the contract.

Amtrak contends it is doing its part to facilitate a smooth transition, acting promptly and without delay to requests made by VRE and Keolis on a variety of issues, including setting up locomotive engineer and conductor qualification training on dates of their choosing. As the June 28 transition date nears, Amtrak will continue to work toward a smooth transition.