FINANCE

Where does the Orient Express go? The train has new European routes


Before the dawn of private jets and business class flights, members of the royalty and upper society traveled through Europe in luxury trains.

Now anyone can do it যদি if they are willing and able to spend 7 1,700 (2,300) for a one-night trip.

This is the initial rate for the historic historic luxury train Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Florence to Paris, operated by the Belmond Travel brand owned by LVMH. Other routes cost more – much more.

Prices, however, do not seem to deter rail lovers. Many rides sell each seat.

“2019 was a record year for the Venice Simplified-Orient-Express which increased our revenue by 70% compared to 2015,” said Gary Franklin, vice president of trains and cruises in Belmond.

When passenger travel resumes in June, travelers book some route solids again.

“We’re definitely seeing a resurgence of post-epidemic rail travel,” Franklin told CNBC. “Discovering more and more travelers … With slower travel, we hope that this growth in demand and interest will continue.

Historic Historic Orient Express service

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has 11 sleeping cars, three restaurant cars, a bar car and two staff cars, making it the longest passenger train in Europe, Franclin said.

But this is not just a normal train. Each of the 1-car trains was once part of Europe’s iconic Orient Express, a train service that began in the 13th century, connecting Paris with Istanbul. The service later expanded to various cities in Europe, reaching the “golden days” between World War I and World War II. Franklin.

The oldest car on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is from 1926.

Courtesy Belmond

Jet travel removes the famous rail line. Eventually the cars crashed and services were shut down.

In the 1970s, the founder of Belmond bought American James Sherwood Several A dilapidated car at an auction. By 122, he had carried enough original carriages to form the Venice Simplon-Orient Express এবং and restored their former glory to this day.

New routes across Europe

Due to the Kovid epidemic, VSOE, as it is known, missed its entire 2020 travel season, which runs from March to November.

After being closed for 18 months, the train reopened in June with a new route to some popular European cities. In addition to London, Paris and Venice, the luxury train now travels to Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Rome and Florence.

Franklin said the new Amsterdam route is particularly popular, adding that the city’s schedule is close to sale in 2022.

The name “Simplon” comes from the Simplon Tunnel, a railway tunnel opened in 1906 that runs through the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. Some Belmond routes still use tunnels today.

Courtesy Belmond

Belmond added three new “grand suits” when the train closed. Currently a total of six suites are suitable for two passengers and have a bedroom, lounge area and private bathroom made of marble and handmade Italian glass. Prices start at £ 5,300 ($ 7,200) per person for short trips.

Franklin said train suits are popular because of the growing demand for privacy and special occasion travel.

Why people pay the price

Why Venice Simplify-Orient Express makes the wish list of so many travelers explains all of history, mystery and ulea.

Franklin said it’s true that vacations start right from the start of the journey – an idea that will be associated with commercial flights, especially in today’s controversial air travel climate..

We have only 120 people on a train, where an equivalent train can have 2,000 people.

Gary Franklin

Vice President, Belmond Train and Cruise

Most trips last only one night. Others are longer, such as the popular five-night ride that removes the historic route from Paris to Istanbul. The train travels this route once a year in August, And cabins usually sell out a year in advance, Franklin said.

Prices for annual travel make one-night bookings feel like stealing.

Twin cabins to Istanbul sell for £ 35,000 ($ 47,650) per trip, and grand suites for ,000 110,000 (,000 150,000). All six suites are booked for the August 2022 trip.

British author Agatha Christie became immortal on the route from Paris to Istanbul in her book “Murder on the Orient Express”, which she wrote after Carriage 3309 – which now has three new grand suites – stuck in the snow in 1929, says Franklin of Belmond.

Courtesy Belmond

Franklin acknowledges that travel on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is not cheap, but neither is the recovery and maintenance of cars.

“The food and drink on the train … it’s not cheap; accessing the rail network is not cheap,” he said. “Also, we have only 120 people on a train, where an equivalent train can have 2,000 people.”

Multi-course meals and beverages, but not alcohol, are included in the rate and the menu changes according to the destination and .tu.

Courtesy Belmond

He likened the trips to “a private jet on wheels” and cars to “art pieces”.

“When you walk through the countryside of northern France, you wake up with breakfast in your bed. You pull the blinds, you find the Swiss Alps and the Swiss lake outside your window,” he said. Going to Venice. “

For that experience, “it’s great value for money,” he said.



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