The sun is dropping fast on this winter day as Amtrak's westbound Cardinal gets the light at the diamond and departs for its overnight trip to Chicago. A southbound NS freight (barely visible in the distance) has been nailed by the passenger train, but the delay won't be very long. Charlottesville was once a bustling passenger spot. As late as the mid-'60s, some 24 trains a day called here--between Southern Railway (which ran most of them) and Chesapeake & Ohio. Today it's only the Crescent, the Lynchburg train, and the tri-weekly Cardinal, but freight traffic is still good on both NS and the Buckingham Branch--the lessee for the ex-C&O line.