Franch rail company SNCF is to revive the iconic Orient Express Paris to Istanbul train service which vanished from European rail timetables in 2009.
State-owned SNCF, which has owned the Orient Express brand name since 1977, is expected to announce plans to have the route that began life in 1883 up and running once more within five years.
The relaunched service will initially run between Paris and Vienna, carrying 150 passengers at a time, according to The Telegraph.
SNCF is working on designs for a number of “concept” carriages fitted with modern furnishings and fixtures, which it hopes will set a new standard for luxury travel.
The company plans to develop the Orient Express brand as a byword for luxury through a range of related products and services.
The spin-offs will be developed by SNCF’s new subsidiary, called Orient Express, which has signed an agreement with the luggage-maker owned by the French luxury goods billionaire, Bernard Arnault, to develop branded suitcases.
SNCF’s only commercial venture from the Orient Express brand name has been a licensing deal to allow the UK hotel group, Orient Express Hotels, to use the name and to run the separate Venice-Simplon Orient Express trans-Europe rail service.
SNCF director of development Frank Bernard, who will run the new Orient Express company, said: “We want to develop a brand that has luxury travel and French lifestyle at its centre.”
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