timz wrote:So there are lots of stops, for other trains? Is the line two-track? Nonstop trains run thru stations at full speed?Got a bit carried away and forgot to answer half of your questions. Sorry.
The Shinkansen is a 100% grade separated, dedicated railroad with its own right-of-way that is completely independent from the regular train network. The shinkansen is double-track throughout; stations where faster trains overtake the slower ones are built with four seperate tracks. The speeds are homogenous, so no other allowances are made for passing. There are very few switches and turnouts on the line. I don't know exactly what signal technology they use, but I think it's more of an accident prevention system rather than a 100% automated deal.
And yes, trains do go blasting through the stations at full speed (or very nearly so). If you're on the train, stations whizz by so fast you hardly even realize you went through a station. If you happen to be standing on the platform when a train goes by, particularly if you have a direct line of sight to the train's wheels, the noise is ABSOLUTELY DEAFENING. But nevertheless, it's very impressive to see a 200mph train up close.