The NYT has a nice article on riding Amtrak coast-to-coast. The author makes a point that I've made before about traveling by train -- that the perspective that you get of the scenery is very different when riding a train compared to driving. You see the old parts of developed areas that came up with the trains, and you also see landscapes uncluttered by all the stuff that comes along with roads (gas stations, billboards, strip malls, etc.). Because trains are self-contained, their presence tends to only alter the places where they stop, not the entire route.
I also noted, in the Post today, an article entitled "High-Speed Rail Drives Obama's Transportation Agenda." This seems like an overstatement, but more funds are flowing to rail after a long period of neglect.
I've actually never ridden Amtrak outside the Northeast Corridor. But my parents are going to Hilton Head next month...I'll be hitching a ride down with them to spend a long weekend, and taking the train back to DC from Savannah (with my folding bike in tow). I'm looking forward to seeing the Carolinas and Virginia from the train.