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Potomac Shores VRE station on track for 2023 opening

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VRE train station

A Virginia Railway Express commuter train passes a sign marking the future site of the long-awaited station planned for Potomac Shores.

After numerous delays, the Potomac Shores VRE station is on track to open in early 2023, according to the developer and Woodbridge District Supervisor Margaret Franklin. 

“Tremendous strides have been made in finishing out the Potomac Shores community. We have a tentative timeline of 2023 to open the VRE and we are working closely with the developers, CSX and VRE to guarantee this,” Franklin (D) said Tuesday. 

The Potomac Shores VRE station was originally supposed to open in 2017 as a key component of the planned Potomac Shores town center. But the train station – and the town center – have been hindered by setbacks. The VRE station is being planned to include underground parking with retail on top, including a full-service restaurant, a coffee shop and an ice cream shop. 

Potomac Shores, located between Dumfries and Woodbridge on the Cherry Hill peninsula, was approved back in 2013 for more than 4,000 dwelling units – a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and condos. As of 2019, more than 1,000 single-family homes and townhouses had been built and sold in the neighborhood.

Andrew Wagner, the project manager for Potomac Shores, said the VRE station’s design process is nearly complete but still needs final approval from CSX and VRE this summer. If approved, he said construction could be complete by the end of 2022 for a planned 2023 opening. 

“It's about an 18-month construction timeline. Assuming it gets fully approved this summer, we hope to have the construction completed by the end of 2022,” Wagner said. 

Big expansions in the Washington D.C. rail system have been announced in the years since the Potomac Shores VRE station was first planned. Ironically, those changes have contributed to the station’s delay in that they forced some changes to its design, Wagner said.

The expansion, first announced in 2019, will add a new railway bridge between Virginia and Washington D.C., replacing the Long Bridge and allowing more trains to cross the Potomac River. It also will expand VRE’s capacity by up to 60% over the next decade, according to a more recent announcement of a deal between Amtrak and CSX to allow the plans to proceed.

“Our project has been in the design process for many years now. Part of that delay has been due to design changes,” Wagner said. 

But Wagner said the delay was for the best since it takes the planned railway expansion into account. 

"They're going to start doing more trips, two-way service and weekend service. So, in the long run, it's better for everybody, even though it has caused some delay,” Wagner said. 

Reach Daniel Berti at dberti@fauquier.com

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