The interior of a large building with a locomotive and passenger rail car.

Virginia Railway Express Lifecycle Overhaul and Upgrade Facility

Our Client’s Challenge

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) provides commuter rail service from the Northern Virginia suburbs to Alexandria, Crystal City, and downtown Washington, D.C., along the I-66 and I-95 corridors. VRE, which began rail system services in 1992, now operates 30 trains from 19 stations carrying an average of 1.5 million passengers yearly.

Our Solution

As VRE continues to acquire new vehicles to extend trainsets, they have addressed associated maintenance delays by constructing an on-site maintenance facility called the Lifecycle Overhaul and Upgrade (LOU) Facility.

The LOU enables VRE to perform heavy maintenance locally rather than transporting rolling stock across the country for repairs, resulting in extended downtime of the trains and equipment. Construction of this new maintenance facility optimizes the maintenance process and reduces costs by keeping the trains in constant operation and performing at the highest level of reliability throughout the equipment’s lifespan.

Gannett Fleming provided the construction management, inspection services, special inspections, schedule review, estimating, and commissioning oversight for the LOU. The 35,000‐square‐foot train overhaul and repair facility consisted of two incoming tracks. Project specifics included:

  • Access roadway and perimeter security improvements.
  • Temporary parking and construction laydown.
  • Protection, relocation, and installation of utilities.
  • Site/civil work.
  • Construction and lengthening of track.
  • Support of excavation and foundations.
  • Erection of a pre‐engineered maintenance building with a drop table, 30‐ton overhead crane, and wheel truing machine to permit in‐house rail vehicle overhauls and upgrades.

The project also involved the construction of additional train storage tracks, all while maintaining full operations in the yard and current maintenance facility.

The construction team excavated a 170-foot by 80-foot by 40-foot hole to build the foundation and walls of the drop table pit and wheel truing machine. The drop table removes the trains’ trucks for easy repair or replacement, while the wheel truing machine repairs damaged wheels while they are still on the train. This was challenging as the active yard track was 10 to 15 feet away from the area and was required to be used every night during construction.

Key Features

  • New 35,000 square-foot train maintenance facility.
  • 5,300 linear feet of new track.
  • Houses repair equipment, including a drop table, wheel truing machine, and overhead bridge crane.
  • Two new railroad tracks accommodate four cars simultaneously.


  • On-site heavy maintenance keeps rolling stock in constant operation.
  • Optimizes maintenance schedules and reduces costs.
  • Significant savings by eliminating off-site repairs.
  • Safer and more efficient riding experience for passengers.

Awards & Recognition

  • American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, 2024, Engineering Excellence Awards, Honor Award


Virginia Railway Express


Fredericksburg, Va.


Construction Management and Inspection Services

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