During and after the Obama proposal for lots more government spending on long-distance rail lines no one will ride, there was a lot of discussion about how European railroads make money with high speed lines. This sounded like BS to me, from my experience. Years ago I consulted briefly with the SNCF, the state railroad of France. Just as one example, we found they had something like 100,000 freight cars and 125,000 freight car mechanics. I tongue-in-cheek suggested they could assign each guy his own car to ride with full time and fix if necessary and still cut staff by 20%.
Anyway, it turns out the profitability claim is BS. The Antiplanner links to this study by the Amtrak inspector general. Here is the key chart, with the green the "reported" profits. But it turns out they book subsidies as revenue. The subsidies (including indirect subsidies like taking railroad pensions into the national system and off the railroad's books) are in red.
Postscript: I have always been amazed that greens get all misty-eyed at European rail. Sure, its cool to ride a fast train, but the cost of having an extensive passenger rail system is that most of Europe's freight pounds along highways, rather than via rail. In the US, the mix is opposite, with few passengers on trains but much more of our freight moving by rail. I would have thought that preferentially moving freight over rail rather than passengers was a much greener approach.