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Comeback: Historic Orient Express Carriages

French travel company Accor is restoring 17 vintage train cars dating back to the 1920s and ‘30s.

Historic Orient Express carriage discovered in Poland
One of the historic train cars discovered in Poland in 2015 | Xavier Antoinet | Accor

The glamour of traveling across Europe by train in elegant luxury - famously portrayed in print and on screen in Agatha Christie’s 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express - is making a comeback. Designers are renovating original carriages from the historic Orient Express route, with plans to reboot the legendary train in the next few years.

The Orient Express was a transcontinental passenger route that launched in 1883, and weaved its way from Paris to Constantinople (now called Istanbul). Over the decades that followed, the route evolved through several iterations, with a variety of different stops, trains and companies all using the Orient Express name, which became synonymous with luxurious rail travel.

Now, French travel and hospitality company Accor wants to restore the iconic route to its former glory. Thanks to the expert sleuthing of French historian Arthur Mettetal, the company is currently renovating 17 carriages from the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, which date back to the 1920s and ’30s.

“All the decorations were intact and it was as if time had stood still,” Mettetal told CNN.

“We are reimagining the Orient Express to create something timeless,” Guillaume de Saint Lager, one of the train’s executives, told Conde Nast Traveler. “The idea is to present a fantasy: a train that could have been made today or 100 years ago - with the addition of all the contemporary comforts, of course.”

See how the designers are re-envisioning the new train carriages...

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