Venice-Simplon Orient Express

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
Franchise(s): Railtour Operator
Main service(s): Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
British Pullman
Northern Belle
Royal Scotsman
Eastern & Oriental Express
Other service(s): Orient-Express Hotels
Afloat in France
Road to Mandalay
Fleet size: 17 rail carriages (restaurant, Pullman)
Parent company: Orient-Expres Hotels Ltd
Web site:

Venice-Simplon Orient Express is the name given to the private railway company operating luxury train services across Europe using the name Orient Express. The company was founded by James Sherwood in 1982; five years earlier, in 1977, he purchased two of the original carriages at auction following the end of the Orient Express service. Over the next few years, he spent a total of $16 million purchasing 35 sleeper, restaurant and Pullman carriages. On 25 May 1982, the first London-Venice run was made.

Orient Express Today

VSOE runs services today to eight major destinations in Europe between March and November:

The VSOE has separate carraiges for use in the UK and for continental Europe, but all of the same vintage (mostly dating from the 1920s and 1930s). Passengers are conveyed across the English Channel through the Channel Tunnel. Whereas restored Pullman carriages are used in the UK, in continental Europe restored dark blue painted former Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits carriages are used.

Other VSOE Services

There are also services run to supplementary destinations. Trading on the traditions of the name, fares on the Orient Express are high; the service is not intended as an ordinary rail service, but as a leisure event. The company also operates services in South-East Asia (the Eastern and Oriental Express, and in Peru. Between 1998 and 2003 they also ran a service on the East Coast of Australia, named the Great South Pacific Express.

Orient Express in Britain

VSOE operates two services within Great Britain separate from its main continental services as an open access operator. The British Pullman (which also runs the London-Folkestone leg of the Orient Express) operates services mainly in the South of England and the Midlands, with York as its most northerly terminus. Specials are often run from London to Southampton to meet cruise ships.

The Northern Belle is a more extensive service operating throughout the country, as far north as Inverness and south to Plymouth. Both services have their own dedicated sets of carriages, and are hauled by EWS locomotives - the trains have often been hauled by a Class 67 locomotive. The company also provides services hauled by preserved steam locomotives.



External Links

An Ae 6/6 locomotive of the SBB is seen pulling the train through Sierre, Switzerland.

Railtour operating companies in the United Kingdom
Compass Tours - DPS Railtours - Hertfordshire Rail Tours - Pathfinder Tours - Scottish Railway Preservation Society - Venice-Simplon Orient Express - Vintage Trains