The train that carries Europe
through Europe. 
( German newspaper 1885 ).

Train of romance and treason, myth and mystic.
Train of Royals, Politicians, Nobles and Bankers, Ladies and servants.

The train that connected the rich West with the mysteries of the East.

In the time the world was still so big a war could have been won without anyone kwowing it had raged, the Orient Express carried those who lead it, lost it or won it.

Europe’s crowned heads attached their coaches for a mere visit to a distant fiancee, engaged their holidays traveling in their own Voiture Salon or attended the royal funeral of their cousins by using this Train-de-Luxe.
It was a way of life, a habit of business, legal or less so.

King Alexander I of Bulgaria, Ferdinant of Bulgaria, the Grand Duke of Baden, Crown Prince Ferdinand I of Roumania,  Prince Alexander I of Serbia,  King Peter I, Prince Danilo of Montenegro, Count Feodor Apraxin….. those were the names whispered about, published in the best pages of famous papers, read around the globe.
The Orient Express became so famous, its name survived those whose name is long forgotten now.

From Paris to Constantinople travelled the Maharadja of Rana with seven of his wives dressed in beautiful silk garments.
He had rented from the CIWL a Voiture Lits and a Diner / Salon, In the latter the chairs were replaced by sofa’s for the occasion. But in the vicinity of Philippopel the freezing winds transformed east Bulgaria into a small Siberia. When the heating failed, the sari clad ladies were not amused and the Maharadja, Lord over untold riches, had to beg through the Chef de Train for clothing from the ordinary passengers.
The tip must have been truly royal.

The Orient Express passengers were always thought to be special, though many were no more than wealthy tourists just enjoying the fabled journey, daringly novel when the Orient Express first started, in 1883.

Business men and bankers, opera stars and orchestral conductors, Impresarios and government couriers -valises chained to their wrists- Hindus and Arabs, Rumanian Bojars, German Dukes and French Viscounts, all became regular travellers well known to the staff.

Both British and French governments, reserved berths on a permanent base whether used or not. From time to time some “bankers”, smuggling gold or bearer bonds –owner not really known. Along with them came secret-service agents or plain spies disguised as the travellers they were absolutely not. Reserved, mysterious gentlemen of noble birth, turned out to be kings travelling incognito or politicians,  fleeing their own countries.
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