Okay, here's one that hasn't come up: A la Autotrain, there is a great untapped market for a BikerTrain that would transport motorcycles on a long distance route. All east coast motorcyclists - think people with obviously disposable incomes, and retirees - want to take their bikes out west to ride the Rockies, etc. but don't want to ride all the way there on truck filled interstates and boring plains states. There is absolutely no competition with airlines, and relative to riding a mc cross country, Amtrak is actually faster. A mc is much slower than a car because typical auto speeds are uncomfortable and untenable, frequent fuel/butt rest stops are required, and you can't do anything while riding but ride - no eating, drinking coffee, water, etc. Motorcycle rentals, unlike car rentals are hard to find, and pricey, and the whole point of owning a bike is to ride it on beautiful roads in great places. So the option of being able to load your bike on a train is a truly attractive one.
Bike trips are also something that are often done in groups of friends - perfect for the social environment of a train, and because they have the money, they'll be willing to pay the extra charge for the bike as well as the sleeper and meals.
The trip would only be between two cities. Bikes don't need to go downtown to downtown so they could ride to a place such as a siding near Rensselaer to load onto a waiting modified baggage car, which could then be coupled to the LSL. The car would be transferred in Chicago onto the Zephyr and then uncoupled in Denver and pulled out to a siding. The bikers don't care if it's not where they wanted to go because now they are in the Rockies, which are fun riding to almost anywhere out west.
Because renting a bike is so expensive and trucking your own bike has a very unpredictable delivery schedule, there is virtually no competition so the fare price should be able to cover the costs. Also, unlike other improvements, the service need not be offered all year or even every day of the week. That means a single motorcycle carrier might possibly cover the service in both directions - Depart Rensselaer Thursday, Depart Denver Monday. Or to create a specific vacation idea a single car could run every other week all summer: Friday, board in the east, ride all week, board the next Friday in Denver for the return. If it's a hit, you get a second car and run every week.
All the other ideas for improved ridership involve enormous expenditures to improve schedules, speeds, and destinations. A modified box car might do the trick, if it is certified to passenger train speeds. Bikes are already allowed on AutoTrains; they are strapped down onto pallets and loaded into the car carriers. I can picture a pallet that can roll sideways, so a bike is strapped on, the pallet is loaded into the car by a fork lift, then the whole pallet is slid to either end of the car to make room at the doorway for the next pallet. With a system like this you might even open it up to ATV's.
You think I've been thinking about this?