Traveling Tuesday: The Orient Express
The first menu served onboard is reported to have been oysters, soup with Italian pasta, turbot with green sauce, chicken a la chasseur, fillet of beef with chateau potatoes, chaud-froid (literally hot-cold, but a sauce) of game animals, lettuce, chocolate pudding, and a buffet of desserts.
On June 5, 1883, the first “Express d’Orient” left Paris for Vienna, with Vienna being the terminus until
World War I caused the company to suspend Orient Expresses services until 1918 after the conflict ended. In 1919, the opening of the Simplon Tunnel allowed another route to be added that went through Milan, Venice, and Trieste. Interestingly, a clause was included in the Treaty of Saint-Germain that required Austria to allow the train.
During the 1930s, the Orient Express was at its most popular and had three services running: the Simplon Orient Express, the Arlberg Orient Express, and the original Orient Express. It was at this time that the train acquired its reputation for opulence and richness. Patrons included royalty, nobles, diplomats, business people, as well as more well-to-do members of the middle class. By this time sleeping cars had been added.
By 1962, the original Orient Express and the Arlberg Orient Express stopped running. The Simplon Orient express ran daily cars from Paris to Belgrade, but only when to Istanbul and Athens twice each week. In 1971, CIWL stopped running carriages itself, instead selling or leasing them to various national railway companies. On May 19, 1977, the last Paris—Istanbul train made its run.
Happy book birthday, Under Ground
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