Japan may have one of the most efficient rail systems in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely free from mishap.

The trains in Japan are often praised for their punctuality, and while they are extremely reliable overall, that doesn’t mean service is always free from delays or mishaps. Technical difficulties and accidents happen, and trains are still run by humans after all, and we’re all prone to making mistakes on occasion.

Some mistakes, like departing 20 seconds before schedule, have negligible repercussions (though it still warranted an apology). But departing with a completely empty train while nearly 200 passengers are left behind on the platform? Such a gaffe has much more immediate consequences for all involved.

The situation in question happened on December 13, after a Tokyo-bound bullet train departing from Nagoya Station pulled up to the platform. At approximately 8:30 a.m., the train made its departure, leaving 200-or-so confused passengers behind.

Luckily, station personnel soon noticed the mistake and hit the emergency button on the platform, causing the already-departed bullet train to make an emergency stop. The issue was quickly rectified, the train backing up 20 meters (approximately 22 yards) to the platform to let the passengers aboard before departing again.

According to Japan Railways, the blunder happened when the driver checked and saw the doors of the train were closed, and assumed the passengers had already boarded. In reality, however, the conductor had yet to open the doors to let passengers on.


Officials are looking into the situation to find what exactly caused the mix-up, so they can avoid similar issues in the future.

Source: Huffington Post Japan, Ganko Oyaji
Featured image: Pakutaso