Legendary ‘Orient Express’ train passes through Belgium this week
Wednesday, 23 June 2021
The Orient Express. Credit: Belga
The Orient Express, one of the world’s most luxurious trains, also known from Agatha Christie’s novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ is riding through Belgium this week.
On its way to Amsterdam, the train passed between Brussels and Essen on Tuesday, and will return in the other direction on Thursday, according to vice-president of the Mariembourg steam railway, Walter Smolders.
Its destination may no longer be Istanbul, but the train itself has not changed a bit, Smolders said on Flemish radio on Tuesday.
“They are still the beautiful, deep blue carriages decorated with the metal of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits,” he said. “Of course, [the train] has been adapted to today’s technical requirements.”
On Tuesday, the famous wagons passed through Brussels, Schaerbeek, Vilvoorde and Mechelen and continued through Antwerp, where it stood still for six minutes to change drivers, according to SNCB spokesperson Dimitri Temmerman.
However, fans of the luxury train will have another chance to admire it on Thursday, when it will stand still in the municipality of Essen in Antwerp from 11:47 AM to 12:32 PM, according to him.
Additionally, the train also has a special link with Belgium, as the luxury lines were the idea of Georges Nagelmackers, a Belgian engineer from Liège, explained Smolders.
“In 1876, he founded the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, which was the first in Europe to offer luxury sleeping cars,” he said. “The head office of the company was also located in Brussels.”
Currently, the Compagnie no longer exists, but there is still a branch in Amsterdam, which is manufacturing special trains.