The Accor group wants to bring the legend back to life aboard 17 original cars from the 1920s and 1930s. Beautifully restored wagons.
The new Orient-Express, which will run between Paris and Vienna from 2024, is revealed a little more.
Remember that the Accor hotel group wants to bring the legend back to life on board 17 original cars of this mythical train from the 1920s and 1930s, whose original cars were scattered as far as Poland, and which have been restored.
Cars beautifully restored by the architect Maxime d’Angeac as shown in the photos below of the luxurious cabins, the restaurant car, the corridors…
“Nearly 140 years after the launch of the first Orient Express luxury trains, the legend continues. Orient-Express, artisan of travel since 1883, announces the return of its legendary train in a new format,” Accor announced.
Remember that the French company owns the “Orient-Express” brand together with SNCF. However, the mythical train has known several operators and owners over time, a long river that is anything but calm, which has led to the proliferation of very richly decorated cars.
That’s when Arthur Mettetal, a researcher specializing in industrial history, came on the scene in 2015, who was doing a global inventory of the Orient-Express for the SNCF.
A turbulent history
During his research, he discovers a video of a train in the middle of a maneuver, posted by an anonymous person on Youtube. He then goes up the track to Poland, thanks in particular to Google Maps, which allows him to locate from the sky the roofs of 17 cars, which are actually those of the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, called “Glatt cars”.
Divine surprise, on the way there, Arthur Mettetal discovers some cars still in good condition, especially the luxurious decorations consisting of Morrison and Nelson intarsia and Lalique panels, emblematic of the Art Deco style, which have remained intact.
“After two years of negotiations, the owner of Nostalgia-Istanbul-Orient-Express sold his treasure to Orient-Express. The agreement was signed at the Bristol Hotel in Vienna in July 2018. A Dantesque convoy, in a truck, escorted by several police vehicles, brings the 17 cars – 12 sleeping cars, 1 restaurant, 3 lounges and 1 van – to France”, says Accor, who then entrusts Maxime d’Angeac with the mission to “revisit” these cars, respecting “the memory and the art of traveling according to the Orient-Express” .
At the moment, the group does not provide any details, no more about the intended tariffs than about the frequency of the round trips provided.
Accor is not the only one betting on the luxury train in Europe. Puy du Fou has announced the launch of a train from Paris for a six-day, five-night tour of France. The offer is called “The Big Trip”.
It will not only be a matter of traveling in a Belle Epoque-style luxury train fiercely reminiscent of the mythical Orient-Express, but also of participating in attractions.
There are fifteen cabins equipped with bathroom with shower and private toilets from 10 to 30m2 each. Tickets are sold from 4,900 euros, and the train will only carry 30 passengers per train. The company hopes to convince 600 travelers in the first year.
The most important dates for the Orient-Express
• 1883: Georges Nagelmackers launches the Orient-Express (OE), the most luxurious train in the world, after a trip to the United States. It connects the West (Paris) with the gates of the East in Istanbul, Turkey.
Three routes are available which, launched one after the other, worked together. Thus, in its golden age, the Orient Express was a veritable railway network connecting the major European cities.
• 1962: competes with the car, the journey is reduced. The train only runs as far as Bucharest, after that it is limited to Budapest in 1992 and Vienna in 2001. From 2007, the Orient-Express only makes the round trip between Strasbourg and Vienna, before disappearing entirely in 2009.
• At the beginning of the 1980s, two private entrepreneurs decided to revive the legend anyway.
On the one hand, James Sherwood, the American owner of the Cipriani Hotel in Venice, is putting the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express back on track. On the other hand, the Swiss Albert Glatt inaugurates the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express.
This cruise train, made up of historic carriages from the Orient Express, ran between Zurich and Istanbul and was a resounding success. But a few years later, the adventure ends and the train disappears.
• 2015: SNCF asks Arthur Mettetal, a researcher specializing in industrial history, for a global inventory of the Orient-Express. He finds in Poland 17 cars, which are actually those of the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, called “Glatt cars”.
• 2018: its owner sells his treasure to Orient-Express. A Dantesque convoy, in a truck, escorted by several police cars, brings the 17 cars – 12 sleeping cars, 1 restaurant, 3 lounges and 1 van – to France.