David, as I noted when you raised this point over at the Daily Sunset topic, yes, people are more important than freight. After all, for without people, there would be no freight. However, that in itself does not mean the efficient movement of freight should be interfered with by passenger operations imposed upon investor owned concerns especially when passengers by and large have readily available air and highway passenger transportation resources.
Freight no longer has as many alternatives; I believe that over the road trucking in direct competition with railroads is going to be a thing of the past when so much more of the transportation cost is represented by fuel and that big UNK-UNK out there, an imposition of costs, i.e. taxes, for carbon emissions. By no means am I suggesting the trucking industry is going away, I am suggesting that it will be shifting gears towards providing local delivery, i.e. containers from the likes of Logistics Park to Chicago area distribution facilities, and over the road services to regions not served by railroads or where expedited delivery is beneficial to a shipper's needs - and where that shipper is prepared to "pay for it". The same model applies to air freight.
Further, an imposed divestiture of railroads in their rights of way create issues of fair remuneration, and it also creates the issue of best use of this new public resource. I guarantee you handling passengers does not represent best use, for where such is, those ROW's are publicly owned, i.e. the Corridor. Now the corollary issue will be what will the investor roads do with their new found pile of cash. Give it to the shareholders in a massive dividend? That's an admission by management that they do not know how to invest their shareholder's stake. The reality of having to pay user fees (I don't the industry would expect to be so "blessed" as has Amtrak been getting its virtual free ride over the Class I system) will simply drive down railroad profitability.
Finally, allow me to note in view of that I did this stuff for a living after leaving the railroad industry, the massive dividend would also create income tax issues for many a large investor that I highly doubt they will wish to address. There's going to be enough changes as in this area; why add to them?
disclaimer: author holds positions KSU NSC UNP and is surely deemed by many here as "anti-Amtrak"