by 1913, the Southern Railroad used the old routes of the Orange and Alexandria railroad and the Richmond and Danville railroad to link Washington, DC/Richmond to Atlanta
Source: Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, Southern Railroad, 1913 (Plate 141f, digitized by University of Richmond)
The State of Virginia is funding expansion of the Norfolk Southern railroad through the Crescent Corridor. The public subsidy to a privately-owned corporation is justified in part by the effects of shifting containers off long-distance trucks on I-81 to transport via trains.
Reducing the number of trucks will offer public benefits by reducing traffic congestion. In addition, rail infrastructure upgrades will facilitate expansion of passenger rail to Roanoke and ultimately Bristol (the Trans-Dominion Express).
the Crescent Corridor, in green
Source: Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, DRAFT 2013 Virginia Statewide Rail Plan Overview (p.32)
the junction of the Manassas Gap Railroad and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad was built near the Weir plantation home (Liberia) before the Civil War, with no awareness of how that might shape military strategy in a civil war
Source: Library of Congress, Map and profile of the Orange and Alexandria Rail Road with its Warrenton Branch and a portion of the Manasses [sic] Gap Rail Road, to show its point of connection
in contrast to CSX, Richmond is almost a dead end for Norfolk Southern
Source: Norfolk Southern, System Overview
Norfolk Southern's trains loaded with containers go through Crewe on their way west to the Heartland Corridor or Crescent Corridor
Source: Norfolk Southern, System Map