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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.

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