Pedestrian struck and killed by VRE train

BURKE, Va. (WUSA9) -- It was around 7:15 a.m. when the four passengers aboard the Virginia Rail Expressway train 321 heard a troubling announcement on the loud speaker. The commuter train heading to Manassas hit a pedestrian on the track. They were about 150 yards from the Burke Station.

Police have identified the victim as 22-year-old Danyelle Lynn Anderson of Manassas.

The three person crew will receive counseling after this morning's tragic accident. One passenger tells WUSA9 off camera he believes Anderson was wearing headphones. He heard she was on her way to the nearby Target. A VRE spokesperson acknowledges this portion of the track is a common cut through and a dangerous one.

"The tracks look docile but they are very dangerous and if you are on the tracks you should be aware that a train could come at any time even if you don't hear or see it," says Rich Dalton.

Dalton says VRE shares the track with Norfolk Southern and will now consider extending their tall permanent fencing and tear down a portion of chicken wire surrounding the tracks. The average train speed is 50 mph. An investigation will determine just how fast this train was travelling and if a horn was blown before the collision.

VRE released a statement at approximately 12:45 p.m. It read:

"At approximately 7:09 am this morning, southbound train 321 struck a pedestrian just south of the Burke Centre platform. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all affected by this tragic incident.

As a result, the railroad in the area was closed for several hours. Northbound Manassas Trains 330 and 332 were subsequently cancelled, and one consist that would normally return to Broad Run for midday storage was sent to the Coach Yard, just north of Union Station for storage. We will operate full service on the afternoon/evening trains for the Manassas Line, however; we have modified the normal train lengths as summarized in an earlier Train Talk.

The one we feel will have the most impact is that Train 331 (Departs Union Station at 5:05pm) will operate with six cars instead of the normal eight, and Train 333 (Departs Union Station at 5:30pm) will operate as an eight car consist.

For those passengers who utilized the Metro option this morning, the Metro option is open again for evening service.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for riding VRE."


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