Fact Check: The Truth Behind the 1911 Italian ‘Ghost Train’ Time Travel

For the past several years, there has been significant online discussion about a train incident in Italy. Allegations circulated through media and social networking sites claim that in 1911, an Italian rail company named Genetti launched a train. On its inaugural day, the company allowed passengers to ride for free. The train, carrying six railway employees and 100 passengers, set off but never arrived at its destination. Mysteriously, the entire train disappeared en route, and to this date, neither it nor the passengers have been located. It is alleged that the train’s journey involved a tunnel from which it never emerged. Despite extensive searches within the tunnel, no trace of the train has been found.

The tunnel, which was cut through a mountain, had no alternative exits, and there were no indications of a train crash. Media reports also state that of the 106 individuals on board, only two were found. These individuals were rescued from outside the tunnel but were unable to provide coherent information about the train. It is reported that as the train entered the tunnel, it was enveloped in white smoke, leading to two passengers jumping off; they subsequently had no memory of the event. The search efforts were ceased after a bomb sealed the tunnel entrance during World War I.

Yet, the enigma continues. Years later, a doctor in Mexico claimed that a hospital in Mexico had once admitted 104 passengers who all spoke incoherently about a train that supposedly brought them to Mexico. Claims also emerged from Italy, Germany, Romania, and Russia about sightings of a mysterious passenger train, akin to the one that vanished. Media of the time reported that this train might have time-traveled to Mexico in the year 1840 (or 1845, according to some accounts).

Train

Check out some media reports with this claim Daily Bangladesh (Bangladesh), News18 (India), and NewsTrack (India).

Check out some Facebook posts with this claim here (archive), here (archive), here (archive), and here (archive).

Watch videos published on YouTube with this claim here (archive), and here (archive).

Fact Check

The Rumor Scanner team’s investigation found no evidence that a train carrying 106 individuals disappeared in Italy in 1911. Instead, the narrative has been widely spread without basis, centering around a fictitious train company named Genetti.

Investigations into this mysterious event revealed that no reputable international media outlet reported on such an incident. This contrasts with the coverage of the Titanic disaster in 1912 (1, 2), a similarly significant event. The alleged disappearance of the train would have similarly garnered attention, yet no credible Italian or international media source has mentioned such an incident.

Further inquiry showed no record of a train company named Genetti ever existing in Italy. A search for defunct Italian rail companies did not list Genetti, and though companies bearing the Genetti name exist in Italy (1, 2), they are not related to railways. Additionally, an exhaustive review of Italy’s train accident history did not yield information on this supposed accident.

Thus, the story is propagated regarding a non-existent train company.

Notably, in the reported incident involving 106 passengers and crew, no names are provided. Furthermore, the identity of the two individuals purportedly found later remains unverified.

The tunnel claimed to be the site of the train’s disappearance is also mired in confusion, as the images used in related media reports depict different tunnels. See here, and here.

No details were found regarding the Mexican doctor who allegedly stated that 104 passengers had been hospitalized in Mexico years ago, largely due to the absence of specific identities in the claims.

Moreover, the assertion that the train time-traveled to Mexico in the 1840s lacks credible sources. Mexican train services began in the mid-1840s, with no documented instances of time travel. NASA also affirms that time travel to the past is currently impossible based on scientific evidence.

In addressing the origins of the story, a travel-focused Italian website named E-borghi provided insights. According to their assertion, the narrative surrounding the Genetti train is similar to a fictional story by Ukrainian writer Nikole Cherkashin. The American fact-checking agency Snopes referenced this website in 2022 to debunk the incident as a hoax.

Snopes highlighted that over time, this piece of fiction was modified and circulated on the internet as if it were a true incident.

Bottom Line

A story has been circulating for years about a mysterious train incident in Italy. It alleges that in 1911, an Italian rail company called Genetti launched a train service carrying six railway employees and 100 passengers. This train, however, never arrived at its intended destination. According to the tale, it vanished after entering a tunnel on its route and was never seen again. Among the 106 people associated with the train, only two were reportedly found outside the tunnel, yet they could not provide any details about the disappearance. Adding to the intrigue, years later, a Mexican doctor claimed that 104 passengers had once been admitted to a hospital in Mexico, all speaking incoherently and mentioning a train that had supposedly brought them to Mexico. This train was rumored to have time-traveled to Mexico in the year 1840. Nonetheless, the Rumor Scanner team’s investigation revealed no verifiable evidence of this train’s disappearance. No reports in international media support the story, and there is no historical record of a rail company named Genetti in Italy. Moreover, the identities of the 106 passengers and the doctor who allegedly made revelations about two of them have not been disclosed. NASA has confirmed that there is no scientific foundation for time travel to the past, rendering the supposed temporal journey of this train to 1840 in Mexico not only improbable but impossible.

Therefore, the widespread claim that a train with 106 passengers mysteriously vanished in Italy in 1911 and time-traveled to Mexico in 1840 is completely false.

Sources

RS Team
RS Team
Rumor Scanner Fact-Check Team
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