THE LEGENDARY TRAIN THE Orient Express TAKES CENTRE STAGE AGAIN IN A NEW SCREEN VERSION OF THE FAMOUS AGATHA CHRISTIE TALE
The legendary train the Orient Express takes centre stage again in a new screen version of the tale.
It was once the most famous train trip in the world, running from the French capital Paris to Istanbul, the Turkish city that traverses both Europe and Asia. The Orient Express was also the train that epitomised everything that was chic and stylish in the golden days of train travel.
The railway journey was immortalised when Agatha Christie penned her famous thriller, Murder on the Orient
Express, in 1934, the writer having travelled many times on the train.
Its reputation was further emboldened in 1974 when a galaxy of Hollywood greats like Alfred Finney, Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery and Jacqueline Bisset starred in the legendary movie version of the book.
Now, the beloved 1930s whodunit-murder mystery is back in an all-new screen telling, with an equally impressive line-up of star names. This new version stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz and Judi Dench, with Kenneth Branagh both directing as well as playing detective Hercule Poirot, who sets out to uncover the truth behind a murder mystery involving the people travelling aboard the train.
For all the glory of train travel depicted in the movie, the truth is the all-star cast never got to ride the real train, with most of the filming taking place in the Longcross Studios, just outside London.
The other sad truth about the real Orient Express is it stopped running in 2009, and that route disappeared from European train schedules. But the majesty
of that kind of train experience can still be enjoyed on the private luxury train service, the exclusive Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
This is the kind of fivestar service that passengers expect from an Orient Express experience. This is train travel as seen in its movie depictions — it’s all champagne, fine linen tablecloths, four-course dinners and luxury cabins — complete with a steward at your beck and call. Each of the cabins boasts a large bedroom, complete with living area, and a cabin service complemented by free-flowing champagne!
A collection of original 1920s carriages have been crafted to convey the rich history of this train. Each of its 17 carriages shows off historical Art Deco interior designs, inspired by the cities it passes through.
All the carriages have been lovingly restored to their former glory, including three dining cars, a bar car and the famous sleeping carriages. For those in need of the ultimate private journey, an entire carriage of suites can even be booked out!
The London to Venice twoday journey commences at the historic Victoria Station before crossing the English Channel, and then going into Paris, before travelling across France, over the Swiss Alps and finally to Venice.
The fiveday Paris-to-Istanbul journey explores some of Europe’s most romantic cities, starting in Paris at the city’s Gare de l’Est, through to Budapest and Bucharest and all the way to the grandeur of Istanbul.
For something a little simpler but still offering a grand taste of the high life, one-day trips between Paris and London are also on offer. All this luxury does, however, come at a cost. Fares for the journey from London to Venice cost almost $4000 per person one way.
So, maybe it’s easier to sit back, enjoy the new movie and watch Dame Judi and co living it up in the lap of rail luxury, for the rest of us to admire!
TRAVEL GREAT ESCAPE (Clockwise from this photo) Glamour and style on today’s Orient Express. BREATHTAKING The Venice Simplon-OrientExpress snakes its way through the spectacular Swiss Alps.
TOP SERVICE Fine food and attention to detail are hallmarks of the iconic trip.