I have spent large portions of my adult life without a car. I college I lived in Boston and took the T everywhere and even took trains to New York and DC. That was a while back, but even now I recall the experience being superior to air travel. Roomier and actually faster, door to door, than flying or driving for even fairly long trips.
As an adult I spent time in the UK and Japan and used their trains fairly extensively. Japan’s shinkansen were amazing, and they were probably 1970s technology. I’m told China has a great national rail system.
So what is wrong with America? I would say a knee-jerk reaction against anything “public”, but as a replacement for the airlines, it still seems attractive. That may be the real problem. In America where there is so much money in politics, entrenched interests get their way. I heard that many, many years ago a Texas project to connect Dallas, Houston and San Antonio was scuttled by Southwest Airlines.
I would love to be able to jump on a train and get to Dallas, Houston or New Orleans at 200+ MPH. Hope I get to see it one day.