Chinese Trains Now Capable of Time Travel, Apparently

C. Custer
8:00 am on Jan 3, 2013

China’s Railway Ministry operates the country’s only official online ticket purchasing platform, but nearly a year into service, 12306 is as much a source of jokes and frustration as it is actual train tickets. The latest in the service’s long list of bugs: trains that arrive at their destination before they’ve even left. Apparently, the official e-commerce platform believes China’s trains are capable of time travel.

The time travel bug, reported by a 12306 user to a Jiangsu web news portal, showed a train scheduled to depart at 18:20 but arriving at its destination at 18:18, for a total listed travel time of negative two minutes. Obviously, it’s just a system error — Chinese trains can’t really travel through time — but it’s the kind of thing that looks bad with the list of errors piling up and the Spring Festival travel season fast approaching.

It’s also the kind of thing that shouldn’t ever happen with a system that cost $50 million, but I think most Chinese train passengers have already given up hope of seeing a fair return on that investment. China’s Railway Ministry obviously needs help running the service, but it’s equally obvious that it won’t accept any. Will it take another buggy, inconvenient Spring Festival travel season for higher authorities to step in and fix this broken system?

[Jiangsu Web via Sina Tech]

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  • John hh

    Learn from nuff said

  • njren

    To be fair, that segment of line normally takes 17 minutes so it’s still pretty fast…I wouldn’t be too concerned about losing 2 minutes.

  • Moritz

    But be honest, Charly. Were it not for China’s Railway Ministry, you wouldn’t have that much fun writing about it :)

  • C. Custer

    @ Mortiz: That is somewhat true. If its lapses didn’t occasionally kill dozens of people, it would be one of those so-bad-it’s-actually-funny things. And to be frank, 12306 (which, to my knowledge, hasn’t actually been responsible for any deaths yet) actually IS so bad it’s funny.

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