I was reading a bit on certain trains of the Great Northern Railway today, specifically the Dakotan, which stopped at every local station from St. Paul to Minot, ND, in order to serve the communities in that region. This topic might get a lot of backlash, but could it be possible for freight railroads to run at least one passenger car, or even caboose, along some of these main lines and run as mixed trains, similar to the Soo Line in the 1980s? This way, each town along the main lines of these railroads could have easy rail access at least once a day for service to other towns or larger cities, so this way no small town is left behind.
"Look down, step over, and watch the gap!" - Dr. John Clarke, The Gap Rap (2010)