Talk:Orient Express

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Requested article[edit]

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What's up with all this kind of things getting shut down? Wouldn't it at least be profitable as a tourist thing with über-luxurious everything leaving once a month and only in the high season? Also I doubt an itinerary does much good if the train as such doesn't exist... After all we have articles on all the cities, don't we?Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:23, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, it's surely still possible to take a train trip on that route, right? So I think it's still a possible itinerary. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:45, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Paris to Istanbul by rail is possible as an itinerary. Paris has direct service to Munich. The w:Bosphorus Express [1] runs from Istanbul to Bucharest or Sofia. According to http://www.seat61.com/Turkey.htm that leaves at least a couple of options to retrace the rest of a route to Istanbul; either Munich-Budapest-Bucharest-Istanbul or Munich-Zagreb-Belgrade-Sofia-Istanbul. It'd take three or four nights (and as many different trains) from Istanbul to Paris, but one could continue all the way to London by rail by crossing on the Eurostar. Currently, SNCF (France) owns the orient-express.eu name and brand;[2] they seem more interested in positioning this as a luxury brand for once-a-year trips like the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express which are very expensive and might not follow the full, original route. K7L (talk) 00:05, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Maybe we should define the route first... After all the last regularly scheduled "Orient express" was an Austrian train that only went from Strasbourg to Vienna... And the very first train of that name went no where near Istanbul. I know the "classical" route would be Paris-Istanbul, which is certainly doable by train, but which stops there are in between is still rather fuzzy to me. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:11, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Nothing precludes an itinerary article offering a choice of multiple routes. Underground Railroad is infamous for this (there are so many different ways a poor negro slave could've run to escape a tyrannical master) and Route 66 is a mess of multiple alignments as new pieces of road bypassed or replaced older highway during its existence, but even the Trans-Canada Highway (which currently still exists and has a clearly-defined Victoria to St. John's mainline) has a few posted alternate routes. Paris-Istanbul before the 1960s would have been the heyday of this run, as in subsequent eras it was scaled far back to avoid crossing the Iron Curtain through the Balkans. K7L (talk) 16:09, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Silk Road is another long-standing example of an itinerary with multiple routes. In this case though, I'm not sure it's worth piecing together a stultifyingly large number of short train legs just to recreate a collection of defunct rail routes that largely became famous due to their not requiring a stultifyingly large number of short train legs. Texugo (talk) 19:56, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
I am unsure on the whole issue. I mean for one it is a train shrouded in myth and it ran for longer than commercial supersonic passenger aviation ever did, but on the other hand it is only just a train and the biggest attraction wasn't the route or the towns along it (which we mostly cover quite alright already) but the train itself and its aura of mystery wealth and class. If there were any elements of the "old" Orient Express along the route as there doubtlessly are in the case of Route 66 (old style motels and the likes) or the Silk Road (old oases and resting places for camels still in use as such), I wouldn't have a problem, but I doubt there is much more than the odd half forgotten memorial plate. In a way the best way to retrace this legendary train route (until the day some semblance of it is resumed) is to read one of the many books that made it the legend it has become. There is of course nothing to say against Paris to Istanbul by train and mentioning that the itinerary follows the route of the Orient Express where and when possible... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:55, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
It would take some convincing to establish that Paris to Istanbul by train wouldn't run afoul of our discouragement of random personal itineraries. Unless there is an existing route or special pilgrimage or other reason to choose a certain pair of endpoints and specific means of transportation, we'd just be courting infinite variation of the same: by-train, by-bus, and by-car articles for Rome-to-Amsterdam, Rome-to-Moscow, Moscow-to-Madrid, Athens-to-Copenhagen, Paris-to-Moscow, Brussels-to-Kiev, and on and on and on and on, endlessly. When compared with Paris-to-Istanbul-by-bus, Paris-to-Istanbul-by-car, Amsterdam-to-Istanbul-by-train/bus/car, Madrid-to-Istanbul-by-train/bus/car, ad nauseum, what would make Paris-to-Istanbul-by-train be a stand-out recommendation and something people actually choose to do in significant enough numbers to make our effort worthwhile? Texugo (talk) 21:27, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

(I will start at the left end of the page again): I understand the allure of covering the topic "Orient Express", but for the reasons you Texguo raised, as well as due to the ever-changing nature of the itinerary during its actual existence, it may be a difficult topic to cover indeed from a travel standpoint. Unlike Route 66 or the Silk Road which don't exist any more in the most literal sense of the term (or arguably never even existed), the Orient Express has not left that many traces. Sure some of the original cars of the train are still around and some of them even go along a (vastly different) route for novelty train cruises (on which we might write an article some day...) and the physical rail lines obviously still exist as well, but there is no way to tie a journey today from Paris to Istanbul by train to anything definitively Orient Express -ish. There is no Orient Hotel restaurant, no themed restaurant. There are only books and a vague story shrouded in myth of a train for the upper 10 000. In a way you can still retrace the "pilgrimage" of the first travelers along the Silk Route or Route 66 or Sherman's march to the sea, because there is a bunch of stuff reminding people of that era or still in use for similar purposes, which just doesn't exist for the Orient Express. Heck even the train stations have changed a lot. Wien Hauptbahnhof, anybody? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:50, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

There maybe isn't a restaurant as the dining car is on the train itself, but there is a hotel in Istanbul where Agatha Christie wrote her "Murder on the Orient Express" book. That does draw visitors. K7L (talk) 01:23, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
And it should be listed in the Istanbul article, but it's not nearly enough to support an itinerary or to imagine that any significant number of people will start at Paris and change trains 20 times to simulate the experience of reaching that hotel. Texugo (talk) 11:22, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
There is enough history that it is reasonable that a traveller would want to know about this historic train and whatever became of it, given the Agatha Christie book, the Bond film and all of the Cold War background (to cross behind the Iron Curtain and back out was rare in the Berlin Wall era) - and where do you get 20 changes of train? K7L (talk) 14:39, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
The 20 was just illustrative, because it was stated above that it would require many. But historic transportation companies with no bearing on modern travel and nothing left to see are nothing more than history trivia, really outside of our scope. Texugo (talk) 16:34, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the bigger problem is the ill defined nature of the itinerary. There is no "official" or semi-official entity able to tell me whether I am traveling on the route of the Orient express or only Paris to Istanbul by rail, while it seems that we want to discourage the latter, we have the former in other cases. There is an article on Route 66 (even though the Route 66 as such doesn't exist anymore) but none on Chicago to LA overland. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:44, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Route 66 is just as ill-defined. Does it go through Santa Fe (New Mexico) or should Bugs Bunny have taken that left turn in Albuquerque? Does it end in Los Angeles or in Santa Monica? Is Joliet on the route, or has it been bypassed? K7L (talk) 02:34, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that is remotely true. Yes, there might be some alternate routes where things were bypassed over time, but Route 66 is much better defined as a route still to be followed, with much of it signposted, dozens of its sights intentionally preserved, at least 10 museums dedicated to it, and guidebooks widely available. Orient Express has none of that. Texugo (talk) 11:18, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
No, the changes in routing over the 1926-1985 life of Route 66 are real. A fifth of the route has since been paved over by Interstate highway, mostly I-40, and in its dying days US66 was infamous for the highway signs being pulled off the old road and stuck onto the motorway as soon as it opened to the next off-ramp. The "HERE IT IS!" maps and the endless guidebooks exist precisely because US66 is a discontinuous mess of multiple alignments and this is the only way to find and follow it. Route 66 is notable because of a book (Grapes of Wrath) and a song (Get your kicks on Route 66), much like the Orient Express is notable for a book (Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express") and a film (the James Bond "From Russia with Love"). That doesn't change the fact that Route 66 and Radiator Springs are fictional, in the respect that one cannot complete Chicago to Santa Monica overland without ending up on Interstate highway at some point. K7L (talk) 15:04, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
I didn't claim the routing changes weren't real, but the route, messy as it may be, is still defined by countless guides, signs, and attractions and its heritage is still maintained and is explored by countless travellers. The Orient Express, on the other hand, has none of that stuff. Texugo (talk) 15:20, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

More detail on recreating the route with modern trains...[edit]

Is it needed? If so, what would we have to add? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:46, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

Well. why not. Something bit about travel time for different sections and distances for the different sections just as with other great train journeys we cover, if there are some grand railway stations from the 19th century, they could be mentioned, side trips (if they exist) with tourist trains along tracks that were used 100 years ago but not any longer... ϒpsilon (talk) 21:06, 27 November 2015 (UTC)

See also[edit]

A bit unsure about the wording of this:

  • Trans-Siberian Railway, a similarly famous long sleeper journey that is still possible without changing trains

That almost looks to me as if the two routes were inferred to be similar in length – which they obviously are not if Paris-Istanbul is 2800km and the cross-Russia trip is much further than a trip across Canada by rail (Vancouver-Toronto is 4400km on one train, followed by two more trains to catch to get to Halifax). The Orient Express isn't so much famous for the number of kilometres as the number of disparate countries it once crossed (some behind the Iron Curtain) and a historic reputation for luxury. K7L (talk) 03:42, 24 April 2016 (UTC)