The Orient Express was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883, and which soon became synonymous with intrigue and luxury travel.
The two city names most prominently associated with the Orient Express are Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) the original endpoints of the timetabled service. The Orient Express was a showcase of luxury and comfort at a time when travelling was still rough and dangerous.
The 1930s saw the Orient Express services at its most popular, with three parallel services running: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and also the Arlberg Orient Express, which ran via Zurich and Innsbruck to Budapest, with sleeper cars running onwards from there to Bucharest and Athens. During this time, the Orient Express acquired its reputation for comfort and luxury, carrying sleeping-cars with permanent service and restaurant cars known for the quality of their cuisine.
Royalty, nobles and diplomats used the service regularly with the service right from one edge of continental Europe to the other.
In 1977, the Orient Express stopped serving Istanbul, with the last Paris–Istanbul service running on 19 May of that year.
The withdrawal of the Direct Orient Express was thought by many to signal the end of Orient Express as a whole, but in fact, a service under this name continued to run to increasingly closer destinations until 2009. At that time, the route disappeared from European railway timetables, reportedly a victim of high-speed trains and cut-rate airlines.
The Venice–Simplon Orient Express, though, has reinvigorated the old route using original carriages from the 1920s and 1930s, including the original route from Paris to Istanbul.
With every last detail carefully considered and cared for aboard Venice Simplon–Orient Express, travellers are free to sit back and unwind as the gorgeous European countryside rolls by.
Whether you are on an overnight journey from London to Venice with a short stop in Paris along the way, or are taking one of the longer Venice Simplon–Orient Express routes through Prague or Budapest, you can expect boutique private accommodation, decadent fine dining, and outstanding service.
All dishes in the dining car are freshly prepared on the train by skilled French chefs, with the finest supplies taken onboard during the train’s journey.
For more information on the modern-day Orient Express, visit railplus.com.au