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Crystal City VRE Station Set For Major Revamp

The Crystal City station in the Virginia Railway Express system is set for a major facelift, including a new entrance and a longer platform to add ridership capacity.

The station, one of the busiest in the VRE commuter rail system and the destination of around 18 percent of riders, will eventually be fitted with a 700-foot island platform. Currently, Crystal City’s station has a 400-foot platform beside its three tracks.

VRE staff said the shorter platform creates an “operational bottleneck,” and lengthening it would allow more — and longer — trains to pass through. It would also enable VRE to be used by more local residents as a commuter rail service to Union Station, near Capitol Hill.

Any plans to add a second track within the station’s current footprint would also be coordinated with a future track being designed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s proposed high-speed line between D.C. and Richmond.

As well as adding a longer platform, the station’s entrance would be altered for better connections for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as other transportation options like Metro, the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, local buses and shuttles and taxis.

VRE staff are currently considering three initial locations for the new platform and either a tunnel or overpass connecting that platform to the rest of Crystal City.

At the County Board’s meeting on Tuesday, vice chair Katie Cristol, who serves on VRE’s operations board, said the agency’s staff presented the criteria to analyze those three options to the public for feedback. In June, staff will return to present their analysis of the three options against the criteria while continuing to receive public comment.

Cristol said that an initial concept design and cost projections would be expected in the summer under that timeline. County Board chairman Jay Fisette said Arlington is looking to schedule a date for a future work session to weigh in on the subject and select its preferred choice.

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