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Ticket vending machines down at bullet train stations across Japan

The Mainichi logo The Mainichi 15/2/2019 The Mainichi
a close up of a computer: Ticket vending machines at JR Shin-Osaka Station display the notice "Sales suspended," on Feb. 15, 2019. (Mainichi/Rei Kubo) © The Mainichi Ticket vending machines at JR Shin-Osaka Station display the notice "Sales suspended," on Feb. 15, 2019. (Mainichi/Rei Kubo)

NAGOYA/OSAKA/TOKYO/FUKUOKA -- Ticket vending machines went down at many stations on bullet train lines and other lines across the country on Feb. 15, railway officials said.

Machines at all 17 stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka became unusable from the morning of Feb. 15, Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Central) said.

Ticket sales via vending machines at Tokaido Shinkansen stations are gradually resuming, but non-reserved, round-trip tickets for the line still cannot be bought from the machines. However, no trains have been delayed because tickets can still be bought at ticket offices.

The trouble began at around 5:30 a.m. When passengers tried to buy non-reserved, round-trip tickets, the machines became unable to issue any type of ticket, JR Central officials said.

Railway Information System Co., which manages the company's computer system, had updated the system on the night of Feb. 14 in preparation for revisions to the train schedule on March 16. Company officials said the update may have adversely affected the ticket vending machines.

In western Japan, the glitch has affected machines at Shin-Kobe and Hiroshima stations on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line and some stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line along the Sea of Japan coast as well as stations on regular lines selling bullet train tickets, according to West Japan Railway Co. (JR West).

JR West officials said they suspect that the same trouble is affecting bullet train ticket machines owned by all railway companies operating bullet trains.

Similar trouble has hit ticket vending machines at stations operated by East Japan Railway Co.

At Kyushu Railway Co., only a certain type of vending machine selling bullet train tickets has been affected by the glitch.

(Japanese original by Toru Kuroo and Atsuko Ota, Nagoya News Center; Tsuyoshi Yamada, Osaka City News Department; and Kohei Chiwaki, Tokyo City News Department)

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