Southern Railroad ran passenger well into the age of Amtrak. Not only did their locals but the Piedmont ran the Crescent route during the daylight hours.
Here I looked at the schedule for out and back. However, it would be an overnight as the Silver Star out arrives to close to the back to be effective. Next is to look at the VRE schedule to see how effective the trip wold be. I could do the Alexandria train watching on the way home. However, the schedule prevents this from be a viable alternative. Here are the alternatives, Day 1. Any of the alternatives give a good view of the VRE
92 Silver Star: Departs: 6:29a, Hamlet, NC, Arrives: 2:40p, Alexandria, VA.
|1. Alexandria(VRE): 2:45psa, 3:25 Psa, 3:30pn, 3:57ps, 4:04ps, 4:13ps, 4:32pna, 4:32pn, 4:44ps|
Yellow Line Metro: Departs: 5:05p, King Street Metro Station, Arrives: 5:25p, Gallery Place, Red Line Metro: Departs 5:33pm, Gallery Place, Arrives 5:37p, Union Station
|2. Alexandria (VRE): 2:40psa, 3:25psa, 3:30pnv, 3:57psv, 4:04psv, 4:13psv, 4:32pna, 4:32pnv, 4:44psv, 5:03psv, 5:11psa, 5:25psv|
Yellow Line Metro: Departs: 5:35pm, King Street Metro Station, Arrives: 5:55p, Gallery Place, Red Line Metro: Departs 6:03pm, Gallery Place, Arrives 6:07p, Union Station
|3. Alexandria (VRE): 2:40psa, 3:25psa, 3:30pnv, 3:57psv, 4:04psv, 4:13psv, 4:32pna, 4:32pnv, 4:44psv, 5:03psv, 5:11psa, 5:25psv, 5:38psv, 5:49psv, 5:52pnv|
338 VRE: Departs: 5:52p, Alexandria, VA, Arrives: 6:25p, Washington, DC