11250Re: "Biden rolls out $1.3 billion for Amtrak"
- Mar 15, 2009I can confirm that the Shinkansen uses dedicated tracks. Their
distinguishing characteristics are being welded together, to avoid the
bumpiness caused by joints and ties, and being laid so as to avoid
significant changes in elevation. The designers make extensive use of
tunnels and elevated tracks to avoid steep grades or switchbacks.
In Tokyo, the Shinkansen uses existing stations (Tokyo and Ueno), but
in other cities, if the conventional main station is somehow
inconvenient, there's a station exclusively for the Shinkansen,
indicated by the prefix "Shin." That's why the Shinkansen stops at
Shin-Yokohama, Shin-Osaka, and Shin-Kobe, among others, but at plain
old Kyoto and Nagoya. This being Japan, the "Shin" stations are
connected to the conventional rail stations by frequent subways or
There are three grades of Shinkansen trains. On the oldest line, the
Nozomi runs the entire length from Tokyo to Hakata/Fukuoka with few
stops, the Hikari adds a couple of extra stops and rarely runs the
entire length, and the Kodama never runs more than half the length of
the route and stops at every possible station. The other lines have
comparable trains with different names.
Anybody who's still thinking "U.S.A. Number One!" is sadly out of date.
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