One thing I find annoying is that when people are discussing SUPERTRAINS - even rail advocates - there's a tendency to feel the need to "compete" with air travel. You know, saying that yes, it takes longer, but not when you account for the need to get to/from airports, airport security, and that trains are generally city center to city center. All good points! But it overlooks the fact that lots (and lots) of people regularly make 10-12 hour drives. Apparently driving long distances is highly competitive with air travel!
This isn't an argument justifying public expenditure on rail infrastructure. I'm just pointing out that plenty of people do not choose air travel when doing 400+ mile journeys. They drive. Yes we know it doesn't take long to fly from LA to San Francisco. It takes quite a long time to drive. And lots of people drive.