The famous train is set to run again after a history student rediscovered original luxury carriages on—get this—YouTube.
The Orient Express isn’t just the location of a murder (or man) in one particular Agatha Christie novel. It’s a real, deluxe transcontinental passenger train line that started in the late 19th century and ran, in one form or another, until 2009. But over a decade since the train has been in use, it’s making a comeback. All thanks to a sleuthing PhD student named Arthur Mettetal.
The history of the Orient Express is slightly convoluted. The terminuses, routes, train cars, and companies that ran the Orient Express were all changed over the years, and sometimes more than one train by that name was in operation. That’s because the Orient Express isn’t a single particular train, but instead, a service. In fact, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (operated by Belmond) is in operation now as well, running from London to Venice.
But the first of its kind (then called Express d’Orient) ran from Paris to Vienna in 1883. Its title was changed in 1991 to the English one we now know it by. At its zenith, the line ran across the European continent from London or Paris to Istanbul or Athens, and once even went all the way to Tokyo. It began as a more barebones operation (no bar or piano cars), but evolved into a more glamorous experience, with carved wood panels, lush carpets and upholstery, and the finest furnishings. The Orient Express became known as a comfortable, luxurious way to travel across Europe at a time when such a journey was long and arduous.