No need to overthink it...Your post made me curious. If my numbers are correct (big if) a mile, 5,280 feet, in HO is almost 61 feet long. An HO train travelling at a scale 60mph would take a full minute to travel that distance. I think because of the selective compression needed for layouts that minute would make it seem like the train was crawling through the layout. Just my thoughts. .
We're involved in a hobby that (as much as practical) represents a fairly high degree of "realism".
Running trains at department store toy-train speeds vs what looks like prototype, isn't usually debatable in veteran model railroad circles.
Given a choice between the two, I'm quite sure that the latter would be acceptable and desirable... while the former definitely wouldn't.
Personally I much prefer what looks 'real' over what looks obviously fake.