A train that may have been part of the Orient Express line stands rotting and at rest in a Belgian city’s railway depot. The Orient Express was a rail service operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL) that began service in 1883 with some of the world’s most advanced trains at the time.
While Orient Express trains began as ordinary trains providing international service, this has come to represent the pinnacle of rail travel luxury. The word “Orient Express” became popular when it was used as the backdrop for one of Agatha Christie’s most well-known detective novels. The service’s name was changed from CIWL to Orient Express in 1891, and by the 1930s, trips were available all over Europe. It was the pinnacle of leisure travel for decades, but high-speed rail and low-cost airlines were to spell doom for this service.
The original Orient Express ceased operations in December 2009, but some of its trains are still in use today, owned by numerous private companies.
However, some original carriages remain, and it’s likely that one can be found after years of operation in a Belgian rail yard. The Grand Orient Express was decommissioned, though there were proposals to store it in a railway museum after it was decommissioned. Such proposals never materialized, and as a result, this train sits alone and deserted.
This is a small one for urban researchers since the train can be examined in ten minutes. Nonetheless, this derelict train provides a fascinating insight into the past which can not be overlooked.
All of the soft chairs are upholstered in velvety leather, which is often ripped on the inside. The walls, as well as all other surfaces, are filthy. It’s been suggested that this train isn’t actually part of the Orient Express line, but was mislabeled as such and is just a national train that’s no longer in service.
Even if this train wasn’t part of the iconic line, it’s obvious how spacious and easy it was for passengers, a far cry from the crowded train carriages of today.
( Photo Credit Goes To First Owner )