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).