With Pullman established in the UK and CIWL in parts of Europe the battle was now on to establish services with exclusive contracts. Pullman succeeded in Italy but other than the UK was not able to establish a foothold in the rest of Europe. Pullman attempted to buy out CIWL in 1882 but failed, and eventually was ousted from Italy also.
George Nagelmackers continued to introduce new services across Europe. Notably in 1879 P&O started a 60 year association with Wagons-Lits to work the sleeping cars in the Indian Mail. By 1879 CIWL had 75 cars and were enjoying success; however they were limited by the number of cars they could attach to the railway companies’ trains. This lead Nagelmackers to consider trains composed entirely of his own coaches.
Until 1881 CIWL had only constructed and operated sleeping cars, now in 1881 the company ordered its first Dinning car, No.107. Pullman quickly spotted an opportunity to offer Dinning Cars in Europe and succeeded in getting one to Paris. CIWL responded quickly and rapidly had three more built. The main purpose of the Dinning cars was to cut out stops; this was not principally for the benefit of the travelling passengers but to speed the Mail across Europe. Fast passage of Mail were the railway companies’ number one concern. In some cases the Royal Mail were able to restrict or even exclude passenger accommodation from being attached to the train. This consideration was also important in trying to limit the weight of the carriages in the first instance. In the case of the Indian Mail the service ran according to the time that the Mail Ship arrived. Passengers had to wait until the Mail was loaded.
CIWL services continued to expand across Europe, Pullman continued to try and get a foothold aided and abetted by the Thomas Cook Company, the travel agent based in Peterborough. They had felt threatened by Wagons-Lits who, since the early days, had established a travel agency in tandem with the Sleeping Car operation.