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A history of the Orient Express 1883 to 2009 Books about the Orient Express Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, London to Venice On 12 December 2009, Euro Night train number 469 Orient Express left Strasbourg on its final overnight run to Vienna, and on 13 December the celebrated name Orient Express disappeared forever from the official European timetables after 126 years.
On its last run, the Orient Express had evolved into an Austrian Railways (BB) Euro Night train, with one Austrian Railways air-conditioned sleeping-car (1 & 2 bed compartments, including two deluxe compartments with toilet and shower), two modern air-conditioned couchette cars with 4 & 6 berth compartments, and an Austrian seats car.
You need to eat beforehand, because there is no restaurant car attached to the Orient Express when it leaves Istanbul - this isn't attached until Kapikule on the Turkish/Bulgarian border, in time to serve breakfast.
At Sirkeci station, under the station lights, you catch you first glimpse of the blue and gold sleeping-cars of the Orient Express.
This page attempts to clear up some myths, put the Orient Express in context, and explain what the Orient Express really was.
The Orient Express referred to here and shown in these photographs was the real Orient Express, the actual true descendant of that first Express d'Orient that left Paris in October 1883.
From June 2007 onwards you needed to leave Paris around by high-speed TGV train to connect with the Orient Express at Strasbourg.
The car on the left is the sleeping-car, with carpeted 1, 2 & 3-bed rooms with washbasin. The car on the right is one of two modern couchette cars with more basic 4- & 6-bunk compartments.
You can still travel from Paris to Vienna or Budapest by train today, see here.
You can trace the history of the train pictured above from one year's railway timetable to the next all the way from 1883 to 2009, so the pedigree of this train is quite genuine - more so than either of the two expensive tourist trains of restored vintage rolling stock claiming to be the Orient Express (the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and the Nostalgic Orient Express), beautiful though they are.
Note that the departure time for London is just the time of the train ferry connection - the Simplon Orient Express starts in Calais.
The Taurus Express is a separate connecting train - see the Syria page.