The Orient Express has a rich legacy of mystery, adventure, and intrigue tied to its name, established through infamous references in literature, film, and music. Now synonymous with Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and scenes with James Bond in From Russia With Love, the Orient Express once began as a long-distance passenger railway service in 1883. The train was created by the international hotel and travel logistics group Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (CIWL), and its original route ran from Paris, Gare de l'Est to Giurgiu, Romania by way of Munich and Vienna. Since then, the routes and rolling stocks of the Orient Express have changed many times.
Photographer Andre Joosse of Urbex nl came upon an abandoned train in Belgium during on one of his urban explorations and captured the eerily rusting and haunting carriages and locomotives. According to Joosse, “They were placed at this site by the national railway company from Belgium; the plans were to safe them for a railway museum. Because the city planned a new parking lot on this site the trains have to move. But as long there is no place available for the museum the trains are getting worse and worse.”
The skeletons of the train are relatively well known in the area as “the Orient Express,” and the plush carriages and remaining fine wood detail undoubtedly made for a once grand travel experience. As the photographs reveal, the Orient Express was a showcase of comfort and luxury for its time, when traveling was still rough and uncertain. And while the train is assumed to have been located at a busy railway yard somewhere in Belgium, its exact provenance is unknown.
If taking a ride on the Orient Express still resonates with your sense of grandeur and history, the name and legacy of the train lives on as the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, a private venture by the leisure company Belmond that offers guests the chance to “step aboard and experience truly elegant travel, wrapped in timeless romance.”
Above image via PreciousDecay.com
All images via Urbex nl unless otherwise stated.