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The Orient Express came into its full glory between 1889 and 1914, with its fame spreading worldwide and its carriages carrying kings and statesmen. Many of the
kings indulged themselves in the luxury of traveling on the Orient Express in their own private carriages. The railway company was delighted to satisfy them and attached the royal saloon carriages to the Orient Express. This was how Ferdinand, the King of Bulgaria and self-styled tsar, traveled; many times he was even allowed to drive the locomotive when the train crossed Bulgarian territory.
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The Orient Express ceased to run during the First World War. After the war the function of the luxury train was taken over by the Simplon-Orient Express, which avoided Hungary altogether, using the route Paris-Basel-Milan-Venice-Trieste-Belgrade-Sofia-Constantinople.

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The legendary train inspired many novels and films, of which the best known is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. This seems to have been based on an incident in 1929: the Express was stranded in a heavy snowstorm not far from Istanbul for eleven days out on the open track, with food supplied for its passengers from the surrounding villages.

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The Orient Express was a true luxury train, first-class only. A train usually consisted of five carriages: a baggage carriage, two sleeping and one dining carriage and another baggage carriage followed the locomotive.

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The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express operates between London/Paris and continental Europe. The most regular journey however is between London-Paris-Venice, which can be experienced in either direction. There are additional departures between Venice and Rome, as well as from Venice to Vienna, Prague and Budapest and from Paris to Istanbul and Istanbul to Venice.

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