We must thank George Mortimer Pullman for building his railway cars in 1864 – built in Britain with great pride and excitement they were the fastest trains for the time.
In 1870 he added extra carriages including sleeping carriages and private sitting rooms – and his was the first train to add the luxury of dining cars.
The Pullman express ran from London to Brighton and passengers connected with ferries to Paris enabling European travel.
In 1883 George Nagelmackers started running his trains from Paris to Romania imitating the same luxury carriages for sleeping and eating.
In 1906 when the Simplon tunnel connecting Switzerland to Italy was finished the two trains combined timetables enabling journeys from London to Venice.
As a result travelling from London to Venice was much easier and quicker than previous crossings undertaken by ferry, which were sometimes badly affected by the weather.
Horizons were expanding with exciting travel being so much more reliable.
The 1920’s expansion pushed the trains on to Istanbul at certain times of the year and as a result more exotic climes were easily reachable on a Venice Simplon Orient Express Trip.
The original glamour and luxury which the Venice Simplon Express maintained, appealed strongly to the royals, nobility and socialites alike.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express holiday has inspired many books, films, music and plays about the train with even the modern soap operas and children’s programmes getting in on the act!
There is a long and complicated history to the Venice Orient Express involving several name changes (ownership changes), route changes and different carriages too.
Interspersed with wars and regional border closures it is amazing that this glamorous train survived running until everything was stopped by the 2nd World war.
Everything changed as a result and when the world emerged at the end of that long tunnel the power of flight took over, being quicker and easier as the glamorous mode of travel.
Previously, most holidays were taken in England or perhaps France if you were very adventurous and rich but many people now desired to travel to other continents, using air travel to get there.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express carriages were left in sidings and sheds after their last journey in 1977 and eventually an auction sold them. Various collectors purchased the carriages; some even putting them in their gardens amongst other places!
A millionaire entrepreneur called James B Sherwood bought two of these at auction and restored them to their former glory. Sherwood hunted down and bought another 35 to restore and in 1982 these were set on the rails once more and a route of London to Venice was again established.
Pullman carriages once more go from London to the Euro tunnel, and then once in Europe travellers change to the original carriages used on the Venice Simplon Orient Express, dressed in a blue and gold livery for the onward journey.
1920s luxury was re-established and those exciting years can be re-lived by modern men and women.
There is a pianist in the bar and many guests dress in the fashion of the 1920’s; Flapper dresses are a firm favourite although this is not strictly necessary on a Venice Simplon Orient Express trip.
“Smart dress” is however required during the daytime, with “evening dress” a perquisite for the evening.
Venice Simplon Orient Express package trips are available from March to November, and are offered by Italian Short Breaks in Italy as part of our special Venice Simplon Orient Express holidays.
You can arrive in style on the Venice Simplon Orient Express into Venice for a stay, or combine Venice with the Verona Opera. So you can enjoy a superb Venice Simplon Orient Express trip to stunning Venice or the lovely Verona; the choice is yours (or visit both!!).
Both journeys include the fantastic experience of being aboard the Venice Simplon Orient Express and you can always add on First class travel by ordinary train to another beautiful city such as Florence.
There is also the option to fly to Venice and have a few days exploring in the city before taking the Venice Simplon Orient Express to Vienna or Prague; a fabulous combination and an experience that you will long remember.
Or you could do the journey in reverse; Fly to Venice and enjoy a few romantic days there before boarding the Venice Simplon Orient Express at Venice’s Santa Luca Station. Your return trip to London will be along a different scenic railroad.