French officials have studied the vibration problem and have even tunneled under one vineyard, but the farmer involved is still not satisfied, officials said. Also, France's activist Green Party, which concerns itself with the environment, has become more worrisome and bothersome, said Claude Constant, director of international cooperation for the French National Railroad.
In one case, for example, the Green Party forced the railroad to relocate a pond to protect frogs.
And the Green Party, along with a group of homeowners near St. Arnoult Enyvelines, outside Paris, forced officials to construct a concrete sound wall next to the tracks even though they had never objected to a much noisier, heavily congested highway closer to their homes.
"Everybody wants the train service," Constant said, "but they say, 'Not in my garden.' "
French officials say their high-speed model is quieter at 270 m.p.h. than a conventional train is at 100 m.p.h.
But there are some who are skeptical, possibly including Roth.
"It remains to be seen," he said Saturday, "whether the French train can survive the environmental problems it is likely to encounter in California."
While the French train ride is more comfortable than that of a conventional train, some passengers--even Parisians interviewed Saturday--said they object to their ears "popping" every time the train goes through a tunnel at high speed.