The legendary Orient Express train, also known from Agatha Christie's detective novel, will make its first trip on June 21 after the majority of its cars have been repaired and restored in Russia.
The Orient Express went down in history as Europe's first luxury sleeping-car train.
Time moved on but the Orient-Express that was built in Switzerland in 1883 continued to be the most celebrated train in the world. However, time was merciless to its machinery.
Before 1977, the Orient-Express followed the Paris-Istanbul route, and since 1993, when some of its cars were turned over to Russia, it has been used for rail tours between Moscow and Beijing.
The legendary train underwent a "rehabilitation course" in the city of Tambov, central Russia. The old wheel base had broken down and the Tambov car repair plant undertook to fix that.
Car repairers worked fast and skilfully living up to their reputation of high-class masters, which they acquired back in the 19th century when their colleague Nikita Galakhov designed special noiseless springs for the Orient-Express.
The train's wheel base needed repair, while its body, heating system and water supply had to be replaced. However, the train was in going order in general. The plant workers treated it with special care, like a rarity. Chief Engineer Vasily Motychko said his attitude to the Orient-Express was that of an expert and a visitor of the museum.
The train had its late 19th-early 20th century interior restored. Besides, the train's machinery now meets the latest technological standards.
However, the train will continue to be used for entertainment purposes alone as it has always been part of a lucrative commercial project. Orient-Express is the brand that promises comfortable, luxury travel. Velvet settees, mahogany doors, a music room, a boutique, a library, breakfasts served in compartments are the attributes of the high class of the train.
High society members alone had been the Orient-Express' passengers. Since its rebirth (the train was restored in 1977 after being almost completely destroyed during WWII) Orient-Express train has been carrying well-off passengers along different routes, above all from Paris to Istanbul and from Moscow to Beijing (and vice versa). In late May 1982, the legendary train started running from London to Venice. Orient-Express trains also carried VIP passengers along Australia's southern coast, along Thailand and Malaysia, and from London to Rome.
Travelling by the Orient Express was a good advertisement for passengers. Newspapers never failed to report about a famous person travelling by the Orient-Express. Dinners on the Orient-Express are high society events where tuxedos and evening dresses are a must.
Charles de Gaulle, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Queen Elizabeth II, film stars Jean Marais and Marlen Ditrich were among the world-known celebrities who had the pleasure of travelling by the Orient-Express. Agatha Christie wrote her famous "The Murder on the Orient Express" under the impression of travelling on that train. Later the interiors of the train were shot in a film based on the novel.