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Woman Struck, Killed by Train Near Burke VRE Station

The woman was walking across the tracks when the accident occurred, according to police.

A Manassas woman was killed after being struck by a train near the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Burke Centre Station Wednesday morning. Patch file photo by Susan Larson.
A Manassas woman was killed after being struck by a train near the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Burke Centre Station Wednesday morning. Patch file photo by Susan Larson.

A pedestrian was killed after being struck by a train near the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Burke Centre Station Wednesday morning.

Fairfax County police were called to the station, located at 10399 Premier Ct., shortly after 7 a.m. for a report about a person that had been hit by a train. 

A train was traveling southbound enroute from Washington, D.C. to Manassas when the accident occurred.

"As the train passed the Burke station and rounded a slight curve, the engineer saw a pedestrian walking across the tracks from left to right," a news release from the department states. "The engineer immediately applied the emergency brake and sounded the horn. The train slowed but hit the pedestrian in the middle of the southbound track."

The victim, Danyelle Lynn Anderson, 22, of Manassas, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have ruled the incident as an accidental death.

The release further states that visibility reduced due to the foggy and dark weather.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the VRE Chief Operating Officer Rich Dalton confirmed that two trains, 330 and 332 on the Manassas line, were cancelled due to the incident. Commuters were advised to seek alternate routes and the Burke Centre VRE Station was closed for about two hours while police and officials conducted an investigation.

The station reopened to the public around 10:30 a.m.

The VRE previously warned residents about crossing train tracks last May. In a statement, the VRE asked residents to use the pedestrian bridge instead of crossing the tracks.

See: VRE to Burke Centre Station Riders: Do Not Cross Train Tracks as a Shortcut

"Each day we see a number of VRE and Amtrak passengers leave the station and hike up and over the tracks at this point as a shortcut to Guinea Road. Simply put, this practice is unacceptable to us. You are taking a significant risk in doing this because visibility is severely limited by the natural curve of the railroad and both tracks are always active with both freight and passenger trains," the statement read.

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Jennifer van der Kleut (Editor) January 15, 2014 at 03:06 PM
So sad. I understand if she couldn't see the train coming due to the fog, but wouldn't she be able to hear it coming, and so close?
Serena Engstrom January 15, 2014 at 04:48 PM
Probably was wearing headphones/earbuds
Karen F Scott January 15, 2014 at 07:41 PM
Danielle was such a sweet girl. So friendly and helpful at Target. She had a way to make you smile and giggle. My thought and prayers go to her family.
Marty January 16, 2014 at 07:56 AM
I commute 5 days a week from Fredericksburg to DC and it amazes me how little respect people have for trains pulling into stations while they are standing on platforms. Some people are inches away from being struck so they can push ahead to get on the train first so they can get their favorite upper deck seat. All it takes is one person to slip, loose their balance, faint or shove to get in a better position in the cue and there will be a pedestrian strike. The yellow line on all platforms needs to be dramatically widened to compensate for all of the idiots that cant seem to follow simple rules of conduct in public.
Meg January 16, 2014 at 03:40 PM
I've heard people are blaming the train conductor however he's not to blame. It's sad that someone that young lost their life. She did however take a short cut by crossing the tracks. There's a reason for not walking across the tracks and having lines on the platform.
Tommy Twochips January 16, 2014 at 05:54 PM
seems like a probable case of suicide - the train engineer blasted his horn. or else she froze in panic at that point?
Kim W January 16, 2014 at 08:30 PM
First off, I am very sorry for her family. But I am also sorry for the engineer and conductors who were on the train. As a rider of VRE for many years, I know them and know that this has to break their hearts. Fortunately they are getting counseling. Unfortunately I have seen many people risk their lives to cross at that juncture while I have been waiting for the train on the platform. In several cases, they were pretty lucky the train was a few minutes late. A lot of times it has been dark and yesterday's visibilty from the fog made things even more dangerous. You may think because you know the VRE schedule, it's ok. One never knows when a freight train will come through or AMTRAK. I know it takes more time to go around and take the bridge that is over the tracks but it's safe. And unfortunately fences probably won't stop people from the shortcut. It's just very sad for all involved and didn't have to happen.
Michael P. Burke January 17, 2014 at 03:00 AM
I'm a railroad safety advocate. I support the Operation Lifesaver safety campaign. I don't work for them, but I promote their message. Tracks are for Trains, not for people. It's never the fault of the train crew that anyone decided to cross tracks in wrong places. People who cross train tracks at undesignated places are trespassing. Trains can't stop like cars, they can not swerve. If the train crew saw this person it was probably already too late. It is so sad to hear that anyone lost their life but it only makes it more clear that we have to promote the railroad safety message of "Operation Lifesaver. " www.oli.org Mike Burke Director of The New Orange and Alexandria Historical Society
Karen F Scott January 24, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Nice. I shared my views and it didn't post. all is good.

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