I'm far more likely to utilize train service for something that's within a 3-5 hour drive than for something that is more than a 1 hour flight. Looking at prices to Vermont by train, I see that it would be around $200 per person for a 12-hour train trip. For that price, I can fly, and be there in an hour and a half.
On the other hand, $40 to Hidden Valley, I would do, since it would cost me more than that to drive.
I dream of taking a train to some place like Jackson Hole to ski, but if it's going to cost me 2-3 times what a plane ticket would, I'll just keep on dreaming...
What you're missing is the really romantic allure of the train. I've got over 4,000 hours as a pilot on military and civilian aircraft, but I absolutely love trains and I consider them part of the vacation.
Flying today is a hassle. TSA, frankly, is more involved in the cosmetics of public perception than in anything else. Your shoes and shampoo are the targets, not the cargo in the belly of the plane. Even on first class, the comforts of travel are not there. I'd much rather take the Acela to visit family in New England. Even the normal trains are much better than the best airplane today. At least, seats are twice as wide with three times the legroom, and they allow you to stand all you want. You can get real food nowadays on Amtrak. Walk around the place... Even the time factor nowadays favors trains. When you consider the two to three hours battling crowds, TSA harrassment, interminable taxi and takeoff, landing without a gate and waiting forever, driving to your destination, I can make it from DC to Boston roughly on the same amount of time. And I get there downtown to downtown.
The old Montrealer was a great experience. If you wanted total quiet, you could buy a roomette or a bedroom in the sleeper car (I did that coming back from Montreal after a 500-mile bike trip in Nova Scotia followed by a Via Rail, wonderful trip from Halifax to Montreal, then Montreal to Stamford CT). If you wanted a coffee house atmosphere, the restaurant car had a piano man with lots of tourists and Europeans, and the bar car was full of college kids with acoustic guitars. You could also do coach and have seats that were (and are) twice the size of an airline seat.
If they took dogs in the train that would be my major source of travel.
As far as long distance, I took the Zephyr twice, once from Denver to Las Vegas, and the other time Denver to Salt Lake City. Both times I rented a full bedroom in the sleeper car. Bedrooms are outstanding, private shower, beds, and turndown service. Still a long way from Europe, but a part of the vacation. The trip over the Continental Divide is a lifelong experience, with the majestic peaks and glaciers literally next to the train. The buried town of Thistle UT is seen clearly as you ride by. It is indeed a part of the vacation.
I want to ride also the ViaRail from Edmonton to Vancouver, the other fascinating trip accross the Rockies. I hear the Canadian rail is even better than Amtrak.
As I said before, we're moving to support rail travel much better than before. A change of paradigms will be required but it may become a necessity. Once private means become costly, the market forces will respond.
Who knows, before I retire to Stowe I may see a train to Snowshoe...