back to article Eurostar cancels 29 Feb 2008

The unmarried gals among you who were thinking of availing yourselves of the 2008 leap year by booking a romantic train excursion over the Channel with the other half, and popping the question on the one day which, as tradition dictates, you're allowed to get down on one knee and whip out an engagement ring, are advised to make …


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  1. Carl
    Thumb Up

    Free holiday?

    Does this mean that if you book a holiday across that date via Expedia, you get an extra day's stay for free?

  2. Nigel R Silver badge

    -20 mins +20 mins

    Yeah but it will take 20 mins+ longer for anyone to the South or West of London to reach St. Pancras compared with Waterloo.

  3. Simon Reed


    Surely you're not suggesting the technology systems relating to railways might not be thoroughly tested?

    Actually, as a career IT bod, I find it beyond belief that such a trivially simple bug could be released into the live environment.

    I would expect at least three people to be publicly humiliated for allowing that to go live. If I worked either in their coding or testing teams, I would be ashamed to be associated with them.

    Actually, it is pathetically awful stuff like this that gives the rest of us in IT a bad name. Tossers.

  4. Alex Barlow

    National Rail Too

    I notice that the same type of error occurs on the National Rail Enquiries website.

  5. Andy Davies

    But they can't cancel it!

    That's my next birthday...

  6. Christopher Cormack
    Alert as well

    Just tried to book a ticket on and it interpretted 29/02 as "1 February 2008" - didn't the people who designed/implemented these systems foresee a leap year?!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Pft, Eurostar

    You're probably better off driving to Dover and getting your car on the ferry- it'll be less expensive, more comfy and certainly more enjoyable.

    Oh, and you get to pick when you want to travel, too ...

    Having had the "brilliant" opportunity to to travel on it a few times, I can say I've been on local trains in Germany offering better service (like a real bar in the train - not an empty car with a service counter selling cold coffee, warm soda, sticky sandwiches and half-molten candy bars for insane prices), better ride (like, being able to get up and walk to the bog without the train lurching and depositing you in someone's lap) , and better fares.

    Bring back Hoverspeed!

  8. Chris Wood

    re: -20 mins + 20 mins

    "Yeah but it will take 20 mins+ longer for anyone to the South or West of London to reach St. Pancras compared with Waterloo."

    Well as the majority of the UK is to the north of London I think you're in the minority here (plus a lot of locations to the south of London have train services to Victoria, which is a short tube ride to St Pancras without changing)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    re: But they can't cancel it!

    'That's my next birthday...'

    mine too! im gona be 6!

    how old are you going to be?

  10. Ross Fleming Silver badge

    @ Nigel R

    Fair enough, so it won't take any longer for people in South or West London cos the 20 minutes cancel out (northern line from W'loo to Kings X easily 20mins or less), and 40 minutes less time for people in East or North London (they lose 2 x 20mins). Sounds like no-one loses out then! :-)

  11. bluesxman

    Workaround, of sorts

    If you select the 28th (for example) and select the 3 days either way radio you can get at the mythical 29th o' Feb at the next stage. So not a completely broken system. But still more than a bit shit.

    How the hell did Trainline's engine get to become the de facto standard, when it's such a heaping pile of crap?

  12. cor
    Thumb Up

    Via Dutch/Belgian international no problem

    This works fine.... :)

    (fill in london - paris 29.02.08)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    ...use instead -- it works a treat.

    Go to City Breaks/Eurostar breaks/Eurostar ticket.

    (Declaration of interest: I work for

  14. Andrew Moore

    "Our correspondant..."

    "Ben Parr-Ferris"

    Wasn't that some sort of coming of age ritual that Vulcan males had to go through???

  15. rory dobson

    re: But they can't cancel it!

    ...and Mine!

    11th birthday!

  16. andy gibson

    Y2K bug returns?

    Is this a throwover from the Y2K bug fix, returning to bite us in the bum?

  17. John Macintyre

    @ carl

    alas it would appear you can book hotels on the 29th via expedia, in fact you can book the eurostar on their site for that day, probably fixed that one pretty darn quickly

  18. BoldMan

    This is astoundingly lazy coding!

    Its a trivial thing to incorporate the leap year algorithm into code: divide the year by 4, if its an integer then its a leap year, unless its a century year then you divide by 400.

    Mind you now we are post 2000 AD (are we in MegaCity One yet?) you can robably get away with leaving that last bit off.

    This is nothing to do with the Y2K "bug" its just lazy coding.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A week and a half later...

    You can only book 4 months in advance. I've been waiting to book this, and found out that they don't do 29th of Feb, about 3rd of November, the first day I could book the return leg of the journey.

    Emailed them 4th November to tell them. Nothing. Phoned them last Thurday. Nothing.

    I guess they want me to fly there...

  20. Soruk

    @ Vulcan mating ritual

    Close. It's "Pon Farr".

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    re: Y2K bug returns?

    No, this is just lazy arse coding of the worest kind!

    The code for leap years is easy and anybody working with date classes should know it!

  22. TeeCee Gold badge


    I always went for "divide two-digit year by four to integer and check the remainder, if zero, it's a leap year". Worked for 2000 perfectly happily.

    I believe that there is a point in the future at which this one will get it wrong, but I'll be long dead and my code equally so.....

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    too sloppy for words

    I was (optimistically) coding dates to be Y2K and Y2100 (not a leap year) compliant on departmental systems in 1976, and they wouldn't have screwed up like that. The coder should be taken outside and shot. (Well, not really, that would be murder)

  24. Mark Aggleton


    @TeeCee - not true for 2100/2200/2300. - @BoldMan is correct

    @Nigel R - the majority of this country don't actually live in London Town

  25. Andy Crofts
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Y2Bug

    <<No, this is just lazy arse coding of the worest kind!>>

    -And that's spelling which won't get past the most generous parser. GOD!!! Children on this site.

  26. Mark Rendle

    North and South

    @Mark Aggleton,

    Like northerners* ever go to Paris. Or indeed, past t' working men's club at t' foot of t' road. Not that any of them actually work, of course.

    *For the purposes of this pointlessly inflammatory comment, "north" may be considered to start at Islington.


  27. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  28. Joe

    @ Mark Rendle

    I'll have you know I once went as far as Batley when me whippet ran off!

    Sophistication? Don't talk to me about sophistication, I've *been* to Leeds.

  29. The Other Steve
    Thumb Down

    year mod ( (year mod 100 > 0) ? 4 : 400) > 0 ? false : true

    My date fu is a little rusty, but ISTR that the above will do the trick in a very compact kind of way barely even a full line of code, although the intent is hard to read(and I haven't checked it of course, that would be no fun).

    Whoever programmed the date dropdown component wants to be shot.

    @Mark Rendle :

    I live near Newcastle, I went to Paris, it was shite. I'm not going back.

    So you might not be to far off the truth.

  30. this


    So, anonymouscoward has a job! How the hell can he/she find the time to fit it in between postings?

  31. Morely Dotes

    @ Simon Reed

    "as a career IT bod, I find it beyond belief that such a trivially simple bug could be released into the live environment."

    I don't. I used to get "gold" code from Microsoft (you know, pre-release set-in-stone software) when I was testing network products for the World's Largest Chipmaker(tm) that had such glaringly obvious mistakes that even Steve Ballmer could have seen them.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    testing testing testing

    But the point is you caught it during testing.

    Daft bugs like this will always slip thru (the coder above with the wrongheaded leap year check proves this) - it's the tester responsibility to catch it. t

    Anyway. HAHAHA !! I went for an interview at thetrainline for a testing job and they didn't even have the courtesy to get back to me. they were fretting as much about keeping the regulators sweet as they were about testing properly.

  33. Andus McCoatover
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Y2Bug

    <<No, this is just lazy arse coding of the worest kind!>>

    -And that's spelling which won't get past the most generous parser. GOD!!! Children on this site.

  34. Stratman
    Paris Hilton

    Luuuurve train here I come

    Hold the front page!

    Eurostar finds February 29th in leap year

    It's all working now.

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