Orient Express

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A variety of rail services have used the name "Orient Express" — we're covering all of them here. This list is quoted from Wikivoyage:

  • Orient Express (1883-1962) from Paris through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest to Istanbul. A fragment of this route from Paris to Budapest was revived in 1977, but was cut back to Paris-Vienna (2001) and later Strasburg-Vienna (2007) before disappearing completely in 2009. Initially this route was chosen over the shorter southern route taken by the Simplon Orient Express below because of an Austro-Hungarian legistation of that time which required all international trains crossing the Austrian territory (which included a short section of the southern route around Trieste, then) to make a stop at the capital city, Vienna, rendering the southern route infeasible until the collapse of the empire.
  • The Simplon Orient Express (1919-1962) aka Direct Orient Express (1962-1977) from Paris through Lausanne, Milan, Venice, Belgrade and Sofia to Istanbul was an alternate service which ran in parallel to the main Orient Express for many years, crossing into Italy at the Simplon Pass tunnel. A fragment of this journey was revived (1982-2005) as the Venice Simplon Orient Express from Calais and Paris through Lausanne and Milan to Venice, but that train did not continue onward to Istanbul.
  • An Arlberg Orient Express (1930-1962) ran as a third route from London-Calais through Paris, Zürich, Innsbruck, Vienna and Budapest, before either terminating in Bucharest or going through Belgrade to terminate in Athens. These runs never did go to Istanbul; their access to the United Kingdom was, by necessity, a ferry crossing in this era.

All Orient Express routes were interrupted by World War I and World War II.

The route was famed for its luxury sleeping and dining cars, having a general air of opulence about it.

For more information, see here. To take the journey yourself, which in the 21st century will require travelling on multiple trains, see Wikivoyage's modern itinerary.

The examples below feature the Orient Express in fiction, and fictional railway services clearly inspired by it.

Examples of Orient Express include:

Films -- Live-Action

  • Romance on the Orient Express: a 1985 TV movie with Cheryl Ladd.
  • In the 2004 version of Around the World In 80 Days, Mr. Fogg rides aboard the train to Istanbul.
  • From Russia with Love (and the original novel too), featuring a legendary fight scene between Bond and Red Grant in a compartment, still used to screen test potential Bonds.

Literature

  • Murder on the Orient Express, where Hercule Poirot has to investigate a murder on the train. Adapted a number of times for film, including a modern-day adaptation.
    • Also the short story "Have You Got Everything You Want?" is set on board the train.
  • The Napoli Express, a Lord Darcy mystery deconstructing the story of Murder on the Orient Express.
  • In Dracula, when Dracula escapes from England to Varna by sea, the cabal sworn to destroy him travels to Paris and takes the Orient Express, arriving in Varna ahead of him.
  • Stamboul Train by Graham Greene.
  • Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene.
  • Flashman and the Tiger by ~George MacDonald Fraser~: Sir Harry Paget Flashman travels on the train's first journey as a guest of the journalist Henri Blowitz.
  • The Solar Pons story The Adventure of the Orient Express.
  • In the Dieselpunk story Leviathan, the Orient Express appears as a heavily armed high-tech train.

Live-Action TV

  • Get Smart had an episode titled "Aboard the Orient Express".
  • Minder on the Orient Express (1985): a special episode of the long-running ITV sit-com Minder.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Emergence": the train appears on the Enterprise's holodeck.
  • In the British soap opera Eastenders, in 1986, characters Den and Angie Watts spent their honeymoon on the train.

Music

  • "Orient Express" is the title of a piece of music Jean Michel Jarre composed for his 1981 Concerts In China. The video clip features footage of the classic train.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • The Last Express, an epic adventure game by Jordan Mechner is about the fictionalized final trip of the Orient Express in the weeks leading up to WWI.

Western Animation

  • Rugrats paid homage to Murder on the Orient Express with a (fake) murder mystery on the "Ornery Express".
  • The Backyardigans episode "Le Master of Disguise" features the Orient Express, showing Uniqua, Pablo, Austin, Tasha, and Tyrone going to Istanbul from Paris.
  • The 1987 cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has an episode entitled "Turtles on the Orient Express". As the title suggests it is primarily based on the train.
  • In one episode of the British cartoon series Danger Mouse, called "Danger Mouse on the Orient Express", DM and Penfold travel on the train on their way back to London from Venice. DM's arch-enemy Greenback is also on the train. They're both vying for a document that could lead to disaster for Europe's tourist industry.
  • In 1994's Season 1 episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?? called "The Gold Old Bad Days", Carmen Sandiego and her V.I.L.E. gang are given a challenge to do something low tech by The Player. Carmen's goal is the train.