Trains are the answer
Loved the story on the railroads of Charlottesville. Trains are nothing if not big, powerful and awe inspiring, perhaps with a touch of soul. They are why I chose to build my house next to the Norfolk Southern mainline in Nelson County.
As you well pointed out, trains can be dangerous, but in the approximately 160 years of daily operation and probably well over a million trains passing through, there has never been serious wreck within the city limits.
Trains do have accidents and in the past twenty years there have been several fairly close by in Nelson County, one in 1978 that took six lives, serious by rail standards.
But in town the trains trundle through at modest speed and so aren't much of a threat. Now if we could just get more passengers and freight on the rails, we could save ourselves the enormous costs of rebuilding I-95, I-81 and even Rt. 29. And suffer a lot less pollution and land wastage to boot. Thanks for an interesting and fun article.