The Orange and Alexandria Railroad in Virginia was strategically important during the American Civil War (1861-1865). It connected Alexandria across the Potomac River from Washington DC, with the Virginia Central Railroad at Gordonsville. Through this connection, a rail link between the capitals at Washington, DC and Richmond existed.
The Orange and Alexandria and Virginia Central were used for troop movements by Union and Confederate leaders, and were subjected to massive damage by the opposing forces. The use of railroads to move troops quickly was new technology at the time.
The Battle of Brandy Station and the Battle of Rappahannock Station were fought near the railroad line. It later became part of the Richmond and Danville Railroad (R&D) and Southern Railway System (SR) and is now part of Norfolk Southern (NS). The tracks are also used by Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) operates commuter railroad service along a portion of the historic line.