Here's an interesting link from a New Mexico Rail Advocacy group.
They list 13 advantages to rail travel:
1 A modern small automobile with two passengers generates almost 25
times the air pollution, per passenger mile, as a four car commuter
train at 35% capacity.
2 Two sets of commuter rail tracks will handle the passenger traffic
of at least six lanes of highway.
3 The tracks for a commuter train already exist here; those for a
light rail system can be laid within existing infrastructure,
preserving open space and minimizing land and business condemnation.
4 A new light-rail line costs about a third of a new highway or loop
road, and recent developments in track-laying technology can shave
60% to 70% off that cost.
5 Trains are faster, quieter, and smoother than buses. In addition,
they avoid traffic jams and most accident scenes.
6 Modern commuter and light-rail trains are built to run forward or
backward, eliminating the need for huge turnaround loops.
7 Rail deaths and injuries are almost nothing compared to those in
8 Rail cars and locomotives have been known to last up to 100 years
with decent maintenance.
9 Railroad tracks are cheaper and easier to maintain than roads and
10 There is no rubber tire disposal problem with trains (a much
bigger issue than many people realize).
11 Most skeptical commuters who try trains are converted within a
trip or two.
12 Commuter and light rail lines have triggered a boom, revitalizing
rundown neighborhoods and buildings in areas where they have been
located. Land values in older communities are rising, a dent is being
made in suburban sprawl and even some long-abandoned hazardous waste
sites are slated for clean-up, having become more attractive to
housing, retail, and office developers.
13 Railroad transit is a big part of the "intermodal"-- or many
modes of transportation--thinking that has become more popular
nationally and worldwide every year--not to mention mandated by
federal law since 1991.