"Orient ExpressTM" - Orient and Occident Deluxe.
The linking of the West with the Ottoman Empire by rail was an ambitious project of the countries and railroads participating in it. Probably the best known connection that still appears in train routings is the "Orient ExpressTM".
The history of this famous train began on June 5, 1883 at the Gare de l'Est in Paris. The "Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits" (CIWL) or "International Sleeping Car Company" sent its luxurious overnight train east for the first time. The rail connection went initially as far as Rumania, and passengers had to go the rest of the way to Istanbul by ship. In 1888 it was then complete: Istanbul was connected by ties and rails to the West.
This fast connection between the Orient and the Occident was not only keenly embraced by business travelers, the elegant clientele from the ranks of the high nobility and financial potentates also took great delight in the almost unlimited comfort, in the exquisite catering, as well as the exciting entertainment in the dining car during the long trip. The rolling stock consisted of first class baggage, sleeping, and dining cars that were at the highest technical standard for that time. The paintwork for the cars was in an elegant brown or beige/brown, and the golden coat-of-arms with the two CIWL lions had to be on every car. This train soon became a symbol of luxury and the guests on board considered it an honor to travel on this train. The participating state railroads also considered it an honor to have the train in their rails and provided motive power for the train that was the most beautiful, most powerful locomotives they had under steam. In the German Empire this was primarily a Bavarian S 3/6 and the Baden IV h, both of them extremely elegant units and motive power worthy of the "Orient ExpressTM".
The First World War interrupted the connection between Paris and Istanbul for several years and after the end of the war the "Orient ExpressTM" was used as a purely military train. But, it was then made accessible to the public again. However, the train's run ended in Bucharest; hardly anything had changed however in the comfort of the prewar years. The CIWL was able to offer the "Orient ExpressTM" as a pure luxury train until 1940, when the events of World War II brought the train to an abrupt halt. The political separation of Europe into a West and an East block and the lean reconstruction years caused great limitations in the service offered as well as in the train's routing. For a while the train ended in Vienna, Budapest, or Bucharest, and the "Orient ExpressTM" was run as a normal express train with all classes of cars. The name "Orient ExpressTM" can still be found today in international train connections; it even runs on part of its traditional route. But, only the name remains of the former luxury of the overnight trains of the "Compagnie Internationale des Wagon-Lits" (CIWL), often envisioned in movies and books, and contributing to the preservation of the mystique of the "Orient ExpressTM".