Rich Dalton has been named the new chief executive officer of Virginia Railway Express.
The hiring of Dalton, who has served as VRE’s acting CEO since November, was approved by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission based on the recommendation of the VRE Operations Board.
Dalton replaces Doug Allen, who left VRE last fall.
“Rich’s decades of experience and railroad savvy make him the ideal candidate for the position,” said Gary Skinner, chairman of both the VRE Operations Board and Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “His leadership and vision will not only allow our commuter rail system to weather the challenges presented by the current health crisis but to emerge a stronger organization, well positioned for future growth.”
Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol chaired the VRE search committee, which received applications from transportation executives from across the country.
“Rich stood out on the basis of his unparalleled expertise in the operations of VRE and its partner agencies and his vision for the future of the system,” Cristol said.
A seasoned rail-operations veteran, Dalton has been with VRE for 11 years as deputy CEO and chief operating officer until becoming acting CEO. He previously served as acting CEO in 2012. Among his accomplishments, Dalton led VRE’s multi-year effort to implement positive train control (PTC), a federally mandated safety technology. In April 2019, VRE became the nation’s sixth rail system to operate under PTC.
“I am excited to lead VRE as we execute our strategic objectives for safety, complete customer satisfaction, prudent fiscal management, system growth, and a healthy corporate culture,” Dalton said. “VRE is comprised of a world-class staff and we will continue to work closely with our valued stakeholders and other partners to provide a world class service.”
Before joining VRE, Dalton spent 19 years in private industry with a global leader in passenger and freight rail. He is a military veteran, having served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Dalton holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Sam Houston State University.
VRE is the 13th largest commuter rail service in the country, providing 4.5 million rides a year.