So ideally for a freight rail system we want high throughput, short delivery times, cheap, and running to/from convenient nearby locations.
Breaking this down further, it suggests we want
* Small trains (lowers latency - less time to wait for a train going to your destination. Removes/reduces need for transferring cargo between trains by allowing point-to-point service, so long as the 'point's are train stations.)
* Autonomous (required by 'small trains' and 'cheap')
* Handles congestion well (for high throughput with lots of small trains)
* Moderately priced infrastructure.
* High density of train stations around the country
I.e. something like an internet for shipping containers.
Hyperloop gives us 'fast', but fails on infrastructure price, fails at least initially on density of stations, and congestion may be problematic. Starting with the existing rail network and moving to more automation and smaller trains and solving some congestion problems (perhaps the hardest bit) gives everything but 'fast', but for many purposes is 'fast enough'.
It still needs to be competitive compared to autonomous trucks.
TL;DR: I agree.