In many ways the United States is a land of contrasts, politically, culturally and even in terms of language. One of those contrasts is mass transit. Aside of from a few large, densely populated cities, public transportation is largely ignored in the US. As a result of low ridership, no one wants to invest in mass transit and the poor conditions drive away more potential riders. Of course it doesn't help that in much of the country, suburban sprawl makes anything but taking a car impractical.
Inter-urban travel is bad enough, but inter-city travel can often be even worse. Since 9/11, flying in the United States has gone from a merely unpleasant to an absolutely miserable experience. In an environment where train travel has a perfect opportunity pick up the ball where airlines have fumbled, nothing has happened. Meanwhile overseas train services excel with services, like the French TGV, German ICE and the grand-daddy of them all the Japanese Shinkansen (bullet train).
Crunchgear contributor Nicholas Deleon just returned from a trip to Japan where he got to ride the majic bullet and loved it. If only we had some decent train service for something besides cargo, trips like Detroit to Chicago on the rail could be a real alternative to the plane.