The Orient Express: The History of the World’s Most Luxurious Train 1883-1977


Anthony Burton


The Orient Express is a name synonymous with luxury train travel in Europe. In 1883, the first train with its gleaming livery and leather-embossed chairs in mahogany-panelled compartments caused a sensation. But by the 1950s and 1960s, the service was becoming ever shorter and European rail travel less stylish. However, in its prime, the Orient Express provided a much-needed luxury service that managed to cross borders and overcome national interests and rivalries. The Orient Express traces the history of the service, from its glamorous beginnings, its popularity with European royalty and heads of state, to its demise in the age of postwar austerity, the Cold War and cheaper air travel. Subsequently revived on a limited scale using some restored original train cars, the mythos of the Orient Express lives on. Illustrated with outstanding black-and-white photographs, many of them seldom seen, The Orient Express offers an intriguing portrait of the birth, heyday, decline – and limited rebirth – of luxury train travel throughout Europe.