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The Orient Express Railroad Route

December 18, 2007
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Orient Express route has changed numerous times, but it is best known for its run between Istanbul and Paris. Throughout the years, this luxurious railroad route has served as an important connector between Europe's major cities. It has also served as the backdrop for many films and novels, most notably Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.

Origins

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The original Orient Express route, which first ran on October 4, 1883, was from Gare de l'Est, Paris, to Giurgiu in Romania, via Munich and Vienna. To learn more about the famous train’s beginnings, read Orient Express: The Life and Times of the World's Most Famous Train.
Head to this train buff’s Web site for a detailed and illustrated history of the Orient Express. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see a photo of the Orient Express imprisoned by snow, sixty-two miles from Istanbul.

The Golden Age

In its 1930s heyday the train company ran three parallel services: the Orient Express, the Simplon Orient Express, and the Arlberg Orient Express. The services were all variations of the same route, with the differences being stops along the way and final destinations. Read a detailed description of what it would have been like to ride aboard the Orient Express in the 1930s. This site also provides a history of the route and images of actual train timetables.
Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is a classic mystery novel set on the famous European train.
James Bond's perilous journey in From Russia with Love is also set aboard the Orient Express. In this 007 classic, romantic trysts and nail-biting fight scenes take place in the train’s luxurious berths.

Modern Luxury

In June 2007, the 5:17 pm Orient Express route from Paris to Vienna ceased operation and was consigned to railway history. Read the Hidden Europe Newsletter to learn about recent route changes and shutdowns.
Nick Pigott, editor of Railway Magazine remarked, "[The Orient Express] name has become a byword for luxury and intrigue and adventure." Read this CNN article that discusses the famous train’s high-class reputation.
View photos of one travel blogger’s overnight Orient Express trip from Paris to Venice.
This Turkish Daily News article describes the opulence and history that can be found in Sirkeci Station and the nearby Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul. These structures have long been associated with the Turkish segment of the Orient Express route.

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