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The World’s Most Famous Train, Orient Express, and Its Magnificent History

The Eastern Express went down in history as the most famous train and line in the Western world. The line was 2,740 km long in total. The train served for more than 80 years, from 1883 to 1977. The Orient Express was a real means of entertainment for the European elite in those years. The trips were made with very luxurious facilities from Paris to Istanbul. The Eastern Express should not be confused with the train with the same name in our country. Eastern Express, as the name suggests, is a name given to expeditions to the East. This train, which departs from the West and reaches Istanbul, is the most famous train in the world.

Thanks to popular culture, the popularity of this train gradually spread. The train was the subject of the famous writer Agatha Christie’s novel “Murder on the Orient Express”. After the period following the novel, his name was frequently mentioned in numerous films and TV shows. Many people wonder how this train became such an important cultural item. All the factors causing this are actually hidden in the history of the train. So, here is the history of the train;

The first steps of the Orient Express

eastern express

The story of the realization of the Orient Express was purely for commercial reasons. This famous train was built by Belgian businessman Georges Nagelmackers. The Nagelmackers saw sleeper train cars while traveling to the USA. He decided to carry this new system he saw to Europe. He founded the “International Sleeping Car Company” in 1876. The train made by the company was magnificently decorated. In this way, when it comes to luxury travel of that period, the Eastern Express immediately comes to mind.

The Eastern Express made its maiden voyage in 1883.

eastern express

The Eastern Express started its maiden voyage in 1883, departing from Paris. The train completed its first voyage when it reached the Bulgarian town of Varna. The route of the train extended to Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. In 1889, almost all journeys in Europe were made by these trains. The Orient Express was the most famous of these trains.

The Orient Express was the most unique and luxurious example of its time.

Nagelmacker’s entire train production aimed for passengers to travel with comfort and luxury. The Eastern Express became one of the most effective examples of trains built for this purpose. The interiors were very stylish. Velvet curtains, comfortable and luxurious furniture were eye-catching. The restaurant was in a first-class appearance, with a myriad of dishes. The sleeping areas, on the other hand, had a comfort fit for kings and queens. Thus, the demand for the train was increasing and things were going quite well in terms of economy. The opportunities provided by the train progressed in parallel with the increasing interest in the train. This, in turn, affected the price of the train ticket. The train was often preferred by elite European passengers.

In 1914, the war dealt a great blow to the most famous train in the world.

eastern express

The initial success of the line was quite large. However, things did not continue in this way. Due to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the activities of the train were stopped. This situation lasted until 1919. The old route of the train was changed in 1919 with some minor adjustments. This change was due to the loss of confidence in Germany after the great war.

Agatha Christie’s novel Murder on the Orient Express was the subject of this alternative line. The detective Hercule Poirot in the novel was traveling on this new line. The murder in the book took place between Vinkovci and Brod, in present-day Croatia.

The final blow to the train and the end of an era

The Eastern Express was able to continue its services after the First World War. Shortly after, II. World War II has begun. For this reason, the Eastern Express was stopped from 1939 to 1947. At the end of the war, new political tendencies and realities had emerged in Europe. There was a period in Europe that would later be known as the Iron Curtain. Relations between the countries belonging to the Western and Eastern bloc were quite tense. This, in turn, blocked all travel between these countries. The Orient Express could no longer withstand such a political climate. In 1977, all its activities were stopped and it took its place in the dusty pages of history.

Orient Express nostalgia

eastern express

In 1982, James Sherwood, an American entrepreneur, decided to resurrect the Orient Express. For this purpose, he participated in various auctions. In these auctions, he bought and combined classic train cars. In the first stage, he organized expeditions from London and Paris to Venice. Later, he changed the route of this train to Istanbul. Although not as remarkable as the original, this service still works today. Yet this line is still one of the best train routes in the world.

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