Someone called it the “Grand Hotel on wheels”, others called it “the Express spies”, regardless of this the Orient Express was the most famous and romantic train of all time.
What for generations has inspired the cinema, comics, literature and even the creative genius of Agatha Christie was the Orient Express! Its history is intertwined with almost a century of European political history, since on October 4, 1883 the Orient Express left from Paris to Istanbul, when on May 19, 1977 it made that path to last time.
Born from an idea of the Belgian entrepreneur Georges Nagelmackers (son of bankers and founder of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-List) after traveling to the United States and seeing the trains of George Mortimer Pullman, the Orient Express lived his golden period in the 30s.
The “Grand Hotel on wheels” was a perfect luxury train well heated, that allowed to go up to Paris and reach Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in 77 hours of travel. Initially the Orient Express consisted of two service cars (luggage and staff cabins), two sleeping cars that could accommodate up to 40 passengers and a restaurant car with a first-rate chef who varied the menu depending on the countries crossed. For the first time a fast train connected Western and Eastern Europe, shortening distances and bringing people together.