The luxury train route, originally from Paris to Constantinople (now Istanbul), no longer exists, but it has made its way into popular culture in a way that no other train ever has. When it was built in 1883, and later extended to include several different routes within Europe, it represented a type of glamorous, luxury travel that captured the imagination of many. The most famous appearance of the Orient Express in a book is the 1943 Agatha Christie novel Murder on the Orient Express. This has been adapted for the big and small screen, with two all-star movies in 1974 and 2017. The original film featured Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall and Sean Connery, while the latest big-screen adaptation starred Johnny Depp, Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley. The train has appeared in many more books and movies, including From Russia with Love, part of the James Bond series.
Trains and Games
The Orient Express has also found its way into several games over the years. In 2006, The Adventure Company created a Microsoft Windows adventure game based on the Christie novel, with the character of Hercules Poirot voiced by David Suchet, who brought the detective to life on the small screen. It has also appeared in the Railroad Tycoon game series, and the Facebook game TrainStation. More recently, online casino game developers Yggdrasil have created another of their high-quality slots, named simply Orient Express. The game nods to four of the cities along the various routes; Paris, Istanbul, Venice and Belgrade.
Book Your Ticket!
The original Orient Express is no more, but travellers who wish to experience the opulence of the luxury train still have the opportunity to book a ticket with a private company, Belmond Ltd, which runs trains with restored rolling stock from the 1920s and 30s. Some of these tickets come with a hefty price tag, but it is still possible to follow the old route on a smaller budget. Belmond also offers services in other countries as diverse as Malaysia and Peru. It is still possible to get a taste of the glamour of classic rail travel, complete with luxury dining cars and sleeper cabins.