Australia, I took the train from Adelaide to Melbourne a few times...interesting mix of tourists, business people, junkies and criminals...I used to smoke and at that time there was a smoking carriage..
11 hours in a smoking carriage, you got to know people...
Well, look, about the American Amtrack trains, Moving and HKFoot are to some extent correct that the standard trains are terrible in the Mid-West and West Coast. We are I assume referring to long-distance travel here. The reason rail travel doesn't work well in the US is twofold: the US is simply huge, and traveling long distances by train is simply not a good option; secondly, the people who ride trains seem to be rather demographically challenged - the sad thing is that travel by train is probably at least as expensive as traveling by air and far more than by car; yet for some reason certain types of people tend to travel by train.
That said, for a few extra bucks they have what I would refer to as 'first class' carriages which are quite pleasant and the passenges all have their own sleeping rooms. A few years back I took the Amtrack from Oakland to New Orleans had a great time. The food and accomodations were good; nice dining car, interesting people, all of whom had some time on their hands but unlike those on the 'other cars' it wasn't due to unemployment. Still, being cooped up on a train for three days can get on anyone's nerves and for really long distances it is an absurd way to travel unless you are a frozen pork belly.
Commuter trains abound in the US on a per city basis; also the East Coast has a pretty integrated network that 'normal' people use - Boston - NY - Washington DC is a commonly used route and I'm sure the passengers on that route are quite normal. Also, note that Boston to Washington DC is considerably farther than from Paris to Frankfurt; so I think, where the distances are similar, train travel is actually quite widely used in the US; however, once you get outside of the Eastern Corridor, the vast distances render trains an impractical way to travel for anyone with options.
The federal government is a starting to pour some billions into developing a high speed maglev rail network; it probably isn't needed but I'm certainly curious and somewhat hopeful that it might create a real alternative to air travel in places where the distances aren't too significant; for example, the line in California is going to be LA to SF/Sacramento, which is about 350 miles. If the train averages 300kph or so may be competitive with flying (which was supposed to be the idea behind the Beijing-Shanghai bullet train). We'll see.