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The Legendary Orient Express: 126 Years of Railway Elegance

The Legendary Orient Express: 126 Years of Railway Elegance
photo: Fabio / Flickr/Orient Express
12 / 11 / 2023

We all know the detective novel "Murder on the Orient Express" by the well-known writer Agatha Christie. But this famous train was hiding much more. Let's immerse ourselves in the history of this old-world luxury.

Who doesn't know the most famous detective novel "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie? The Orient Express is considered one of the most famous trains of all time. It gained its popularity from the successful novel and also thanks to the high level of services it offered. The train was built and maintained as one of the most premium railway trains in the world, offering superior service and comfort for the wealthy.

The Orient Express was a symbol of old-world luxury. Its first trip on October 5, 1883, started in Paris and ended in Romania. The train carried 40 passengers who were invited by Georges Nagelmackers from Belgium. It was his idea that sparked the concept of luxury travel. All aristocrats, rich and powerful people wanted to travel on the famous Orient Express. It was known as the Train of Kings and the King of Trains.

Since 1888, the Orient Express passed through Budapest, Belgrade, and Sofia. Passengers were offered traditional dishes from each country and had the opportunity to watch cultural and folklore performances. The operation was interrupted for several years by World War I. After the war, the Orient Express was reserved only for the transport of politicians and military dignitaries.

Dominique FENOT / Flickr

The luxury that this train offered was full of interesting stories and various rumors. It also inspired various artists. Between World War I and World War II, 6 movies were made about this incredible train, and 19 books were written about it.

The Second World War suspended the travels of the Orient Express for six long years, until December 1945, when the journey resumed. In April 1946, it connected Paris, Stuttgart, Munich, and Vienna. In 1950, for the first time, it also transported people from the lower class.

At the end of the 70s, Swiss businessman Albert Glatt decided to return the former glory of the Orient Express. He collected the original CIWL wagons and had them restored to their original condition. Its operation was terminated after 126 years, on December 13, 2009.