I will agree that there are some lines that should never have been abandoned and should be relaid(sp?). I can think of several on Long Island, Upstate New York and New Jersey. But, to say ALL rail should be restored doesn't make sense. Who's going to pay for it? Where will it go? What industries will it support? I am sure these are some of the same questions that were asked when the decision to abandon was made.
Trails do not ruin railroading. They help preserve open space. They preserve the past and give us the opportunity to see places that would otherwise be unavailable to the general public. One of the most important rail trail projects right now is in Manhattan. It's the conversion of the ex New York Central High Line on the West Side to a walkway. Would I like to see freight in NYC? Sure, but it's not going to happen. If certain groups get their way this important piece of our industrial past will be torn and lost forever. So I ask you, which is better, preservation as a trail or destruction and paving as a parking lot? You decide.