It appears that The New York Times has answered Mr. Matthews inquiry today with this lead International article regarding present day Iraq travel during the ISIS/L insurgency. With new equipment, including Sleeping, Dining, and Lounge service, it appears "almost Amtrak":
October 19; New York Times
BAGHDAD — Saad al-Tammimi is in his fourth decade working for Iraq’s railroads, a career that has taken him all around his country, and around the Middle East. Nowadays, though, he can go only from Baghdad to Basra, across the relatively calm Shiite-dominated south of this war-torn country.
“If we have a problem and have to stop, it’s safe,” he said on a recent evening as he drove his regular route. “Even the Sunnis feel comfortable going to Basra.”
With so much violence, neglect and political dysfunction here, it has been years since passenger trains leaving Baghdad went anywhere other than Basra. In recent years, however, grand ambitions to link the country by railroad had begun taking shape. Freight trains shuttled goods around Iraq, and a few years ago there were test runs of a new train service between Mosul and Turkey. But as the militants of the Islamic State have advanced around the country, those efforts have halted.
At least Mr. Tammimi has a new train to drive, a sleek and shiny one built in China that glides out of the station at dusk and through the closed-in thicket of this city. It almost kisses the storefront awnings and low-slung homes that line the track as it moves past waving families, boys playing soccer and trash being burned, before reaching the rural south, past endless rows of date palms, on an overnight journey to Basra.
It appears that Iraqi Railways intends to maintain, and someday expand, passenger service; note the new equipment reported within the article. However, the current insurgency obviously must be addressed before any such plans move further.
Do the photos within the Slide Show look much different than does an Amtrak Lounge Car?
A final note: Saddam's private train; could it someday become a "luxotrain"?