The Nord Express started in 1896 running from Paris to St Petersburg. In the train’s original conception passengers could travel from St Petersburg to Paris, and then onward on CIWL’s Sud Express to Lisbon to connect with Ocean Liners to America and vice versa. It was the second of CIWL’s ‘Grand Expresses’ after the now legendary Orient Express. The fact that this route was over 2,500 miles, contained 2 changes of gauge (both the Portuguese and Russian railways run on wider rails) did not faze Nagelmackers. This was all done in great luxury compared to alternatives at the time.
Suspended for the First World War, the service resumed in 1923 to the Baltic States and Denmark following Russia’s communist revolution. After another stop for the Second World War the service restarted, but with the Soviet blockade of Berlin the train ran through to Scandinavia and Stockholm. Our sleeping car no. 3916 ran in this service for much of its life.
By 1954 there were sleeping cars running between Paris & Flensburg, Paris & Stockholm, Paris & Oslo, Paris & Hanover and Ostend & Copenhagen. There was also a Dining train running between Osnabruck, West Germany & Nyborg in Denmark. All of these were still under the ‘Nord Express’ banner.
Archive photo of Nord Express