ORIENT EXPRESS (continued)

The train was called : “Train Éclair de Luxe” (the 'Luxury Lightning Train').
Wagons-Lits’s Monsieur George Nagelmackers and his guests arrived in Vienna the next day at 23:20.
The return trip left for Paris on Friday, October the13th at 16:40 and arrived there at 20:00 of Saturday October the14th  as planned.

The first menu on board : oysters, soup with Italian pasta, turbot with green sauce, chicken ‘à la chasseur’, fillet of beef with 'château' potatoes, 'chaud-froid' of game, lettuce, chocolate pudding, buffet of desserts.

As a result of the conference of European Railways of 1879, it was  established that the increase of travel on the Paris-Vienna route had expanded to the Orient significantly, and consequently a conference was held in Constantinople on February 1883.

All interested parties were gathered to discuss an International Train de Luxe from Paris to Constantinople. CIWL drew up the contracts with all eight railway companies involved and all had signed by  the 2nd of May.

The train was to be named “Grand Express de l’Orient”.

On June the 5th 1883 the first Grand Express de l’Orient left Paris for Vienna, the terminus until October 4th 1883. As the carriages ordered had not been completed yet, there was no official inauguration, which turned out to be for the better as  the first Grand Express de l’Orient almost failed to reach Giurgewo.
Near Verciorova heavy rains had weakened the rail embankment. To test the track, the lokomotive was dispatched over the damaged part of the line first. It then returned to pick up the train, “in darkness and lit by torches” according to the desciption of an eyewitness in a Berlin newspaper.

However the next train passing derailed there, killing two railway workers,  and shortly afterwards on the 23rd of September the Grand Express de l’Orient derailed as it drove into a landslide near Verciorova.

 By October the first bogie diner coaches had arrived and on October the 4th the Grand Express de l’Orient took aboard the most unlikely fraternity of some forty state officials, engineers, executives and publicists and Mr Nagelmackers himself.The train departed accompangied by music from Mozart’s Turkish March.

All were overwhelmed by the splendour of the dining car, with its Genovese velvet curtains, its Gobelin tapestries on the walls, its engraved silverware and sparkling crystal goblets on the tables.
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