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Sumptuously furnished, teeming with mystery suspense and the promise of exotic adventure, the Orient Express was the most celebrated luxury Trans-European train. In the wake of a trip to America, Georges Nagelmackers, a young and determined Belgian engineer, resolved in introduce to Europe sleeping-car trains in the style pioneered by George Mintimer Pullman in the United States. He rounded the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits in l876. The objective: to create a fast, long-distance train that comprised the feel and comforts of proceeded to fine-tune the Pullman style, and made some innovations of his own like building closed “private” cabins with a door leading to a side corridor, and inventing the restaurant car. The Compagnie des Wagons-Lits built its own cars, except the locomotive and tender. On October 4, 1883, the Orient Express was ready for it, inaugural journey. Approximately forty guests were invited to ride the maiden run. The route from Paris to Istanbul (then named Constantinople) covered 1,980 miles (3,186 km), passing through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest. The trip took less than 80 hours. The service would be discontinued in 1977. But in heyday Europe's first international luxury train played host to a who's who of glamorous celebrities. Prince Umberto of Italy and world famous spy Mata Hari was among those who hobnobbed with nobility, writers, maharajas and millionaires across Europe and the Near East. The Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, always in lockstep with the latest trends, commissioned Rene Lalique for the interior decor of its cars. Lalique was a jeweler and glassmaker highly touted for his creative use of glass in decor and architecture. Your model is a replica of a Lalique Pullman salon car. This rare Pullman car, built between 1926 and 1929, was faithfully restored to its original state by the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits in Ostend, Belgium, for nostalgic tourists pining for the glory days of the roaring 20's.
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