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VRE trains delayed last night over another crash at troubled King Street bridge

A VRE train crosses a bridge over King Street (Staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated 12:35 p.m.) Virginia Railway Express (VRE) trains were stopped last night after a vehicle struck the bridge over King Street — again.

The delay is the latest in a string of incidents that have led authorities to recommend full replacement of the bridge.

Train service was closed for roughly two hours, from 4:50-7 p.m. with train traffic backed up and delayed as a result.

According to an alert from VRE:

Train traffic was stopped in both directions this evening at Alexandria due to a vehicle striking the railroad bridge over King Street. The bridge needed to be checked by a CSX bridge inspector before traffic was released. This created a lengthy delay for passengers on both VRE lines. Northbound train 338 which turns at Union Station to be the final southbound Manassas Line train was unable to go past Alexandria, so we turned it at Alexandria to head back to Broad Run. The railroad was reopened just before 7 pm with 6 VRE trains and 3 Amtrak trains stacked between Crystal City and Union Station.

We apologize to everyone inconvenienced by this delay.

As a result of both its age and repeated battery by stuck vehicles, the bridge has shown troubling signs of decay in recent years, prompting emergency road closures to make repairs.

Authorities have said the 120-year-old bridge does not meet current height requirements and a full replacement is the only permanent solution. Once a design is chosen, construction is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2024 and continue until midway through 2026.