As the high-speed rail inches toward reality, it’s encountering a thicket of NIMBYism.

We’d been wanting to do an update on the California high speed rail project for months now. (Here’s David Gorn’s HSR Quest Radio piece from 9/08.) Luckily, there’s no bad time to cover high speed rail. The project is so huge, so expensive, so ambitious and so controversial that you could make a whole beat out of it and stay entertained for a good long time.

But if – like me – you’re just taking a dip, the first place to check out is the High Speed Rail Authority site. The Authority clearly has deep pockets when it comes to producing animations of the 432-mile train line. Would that the planning process ran as smoothly as those blue and yellow trains.

Click below to use the interactive map.


Your next stop should be this great primer on the technology and issues surrounding HSR, produced by my TV colleagues at QUEST.

I also recommend Robert Cruickshank’s California High Speed Rail Blog. Cruickshank makes no secret of his pro-HSR stance — nor of his irritation at those who’ve put up roadblocks or expressed concerns — but his site is readable and impressively comprehensive. I guess you can count on the train buffs to track every twist and turn of the most ambitious rail project since the Transcontinental Railroad.

37.4418834 -122.1430195


Amy Standen

Amy Standen (@amystanden) is co-host of #TheLeapPodcast (subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!) and host of KQED and PBSDigital Studios' science video series, Deep Look.  Her science radio stories appear on KQED and NPR. Email her at

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor