This is exactly the point almost all North Americans miss when they contrast passenger railroading in places like Europe with those at home: HSR is nothing more than the icing on the cake.
According to the most recent Statistical Pocketbook of the European Commission, High Speed Rail accounted for only 27.7% of all passenger rail travel in 2019 within the European Union (or 31.3% if excluding the UK, which left the EU in January 2020):
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Source: EU Transport in Figures 2020
If we use the reports of Deutsche Bahn's Long-Distance
Business Units, we can approximate the average distance traveled in 2019 on Germany's High-Speed trains as 293 km  and 21.1 km  on its non-HSR trains, which suggests that the HSR services shown in above table only accounted for 113 million  (or 3.4%) of the 3.2 billion  rail passengers transported in 2019 in Germany - the 3rd-largest HSR network in Europe .
Now consider that the threshold for "HSR services" in above table is 200 km/h (125 mph) and you will realize that basically all NEC services would already qualify as the kind of "HSR services" which only account for a measly 3.4% of total rail passenger volume in Germany.
 44,151 million passenger-km divided by 150.7 million passengers
 41,633 million passenger-km divided by 1,927 million passengers
 33.2 billion passenger-km divided by 293 km
 67.2 (100.4
*-33.2) billion passenger-km divided by 21.1 km (*EU Transport in Figures 2020, p.53
 EU Transport in Figures 2020 (p.81)
We sometimes actually exceeded what these countries achieved, as the comparison of Toronto-Montreal and Berlin-Munich shows (both city pairs which are exactly 504 km apart, if measured by a straight line from downtown station to downtown station): When we had one train per day achieving 3h59 (at least on paper), the fastest
travel times between Berlin and Munich were somewhere between 6 and 9 hours - and that was despite having upgraded some 80 km to 200 km/h. Unfortunately, the historic coincidence that we at some point achieved a travel time below 4 hours with our supposedly slow trains has created a public perception that everything which achieves a travel time with only a 4 in front of the "h" is simply not worth pursuing, even though it took Germany more than 450 km of HSR upgrades, which came at a capital cost well in excess of C$20 billion and was spread over a period of more than half a century:
Source and detailed explanations: re-post from Urban Toronto
Japan is the perfect (but to be honest, probably also: only) example that you can have a highly performant and passenger-centric railway network under private ownership, but the key observation is that infrastructure access must be regulated to balance the needs of freight and passenger operations - and this is certainly an area where the Americas and Australia are at odds with Europe, Africa and Asia...