California high-speed rail: A train to nowhere without a conductor

 Everything was looking good Wednesday night at the High-Speed Rail Authority’s big meeting in Pacoima.

California’s bullet train officials set up nifty information stations in the Hubert H. Humphrey rec center gymnasium, spectators printed questions on yellow cards, and the meeting began with an overview of the benefits of the 800-mile railroad and the unveiling of plans for the Palmdale-to-Burbank section.

And then the train went off the rails and over the cliff.

Attendees from the northeast San Fernando Valley interrupted officials, accused them of not giving straight answers to questions and eventually shouted them down. If tomatoes were available, they would have been flying.

“We don’t want your train!” the woman behind me yelled to the beleaguered bureaucrats on the podium.

Trains would travel most of the 38-mile section in underground tunnels beneath Santa Clarita and bypass Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace. The locomotives would pop out of the earth near San Fernando Road and Branford Street near Pacoima, where blocks of auto demolition and parts businesses now sit.

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