Many people around the world today are unfamiliar with the company of Wagons-Lits but many have heard of its most famous service: The Orient Express. Alas it is no more, the remnant having completed its final run in 2009 and the famous name has finally disappeared from the International railway timetable. This service is not to be confused with the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, this being a cruise train and not a service train, which thankfully continues to run with the splendidly restored Wagons-Lits cars.
The Orient Express was the dream of George Nagelmackers, a train to run from Paris to Constantinople. Initially he called it the ‘Express d' Orient’ and it involved a contract being drawn up with eight different railway operations, this was achieved in Constantinople in February 1883 and the first service train ran on June 5th 1883. The service proved to be a great success , for the service new sleeping cars (121 - 126 ) and a new Dinning car (151) were built. For the first time these were bogie cars. For more information on the Orient Express click here.
Many new services were inaugurated including in 1885 another famous service, the Calais-Mediterranee Express, forerunner to the Train Bleu.