Unfortunately, most people mistakenly think the problem is that “trains in America function so badly.”
In fact, America has the most efficient rail system in the world. It is European trains that function badly.
American railroads are private and based on the profit motive they operate as efficiently as possible. European railroads are public and based on the political motive they operate as visibly as possible. Passenger trains are more visible to the public than freight trains (which are almost invisible to people who see them only as obstacles), so European politicians give their constituents subsidized trains rather than an efficient rail system.
Read the article by Randal O’Toole
Pew Research Study in freight transportation
European comission: panorama of transport
Europeans don’t ride transit either