On a recent business excursion to Virginia, I discovered the oft-forgotten Chesapeake Western Railway which was once proposed from Washington, D.C. to Cicninnati, Ohio. Only a segment from Elkton, Virginia westward to Stokesville was ever completed in its original intention. Although some of the railroad has been dismantled, portions remain active for the Norfolk Southern and for a short line.
The industrial heart of the Rust Belt is western Pennsylvania as once-mighty steel mills, coke plans, and machine shops, scattered alongside railroads, rivers, and highways, have downsized and closed. A globalized economy and increased automation led many jobs overseas; what remained was a shell, unable to be self-sustaining without government intervention.