Most modern train stations are little more than parking lots with platforms far away from someplace people want to go to. Your busier stations are transportation centers with good connections to other trains and other travel modes like bus and rail transit. Few train stations today are destinations. People often travel for fun to go to places that are interesting with things to see and do; not because they have to go there. More people will ride the train when it is the best way to go to popular destinations.
Great rail destinations are places that developed around their train stations. In Southern California I can name towns such at San Juan Capistrano, Clairemont, Fullerton and the City of Orange where their old train stations are near or in the heart of the historic part of town. Another city like this is Pasadena.