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Orient Express History eBook

The real Orient Express story

This informative and interactive eBook covers over 100 years of history of the world's most famous train. The story is richly illustrated with images, maps and interactive elements. The Orient Express — a luxury train linking Paris to Istanbul — was closely connected to European history and culture from the Belle Époque to the Cold War. The app will appeal to history lovers, travel aficionados and design enthusiasts.

Orient Express menu
Preview of Orient Express History main menu

Story and chapters

The fascinating story of the Orient Express is told in ten parts: from Prelude to Last Train. Each chapter consists of concise text, lavishly illustrated with historical images.

  1. Prelude Chemins de fer Orientaux, 1867-1883
  2. Pioneer Period Orient Express, 1883-1890
  3. Golden Age Orient Express, 1890-1914
  4. Sea Route Ostende-Wien Orient Express, 1894-1914
  5. War Train Balkanzug, 1916-1918
  6. New Shine Simplon Orient Express, 1919-1939
  7. Near East Taurus Express, 1930-1940
  8. Alpine Route Arlberg Orient Express, 1924-1939
  9. Cold War (Simplon) Orient Express, 1946-1969
  10. Last Train? Direct-Orient, VSOE and EuroNight, 1962-2009

The first chapter is available for free (PDF with full text and images).

Orient Express story
Preview of Chapter 3 - Golden Age (Orient Express 1890-1914)

Murder and intrigue

The luxury train gained an aura of thrilling intrigue — partly thanks to books and movies such as Murder on the Orient Express. Research for this app revealed that this was not only fiction: some actual murders did take place.

The first Orient Express left in 1883, but when did the last one run? It's a question without a definite answer. From the 1950s onwards the Orient Express gradually lost its shine. Today nostalgia trains are still picking up on the luxury image of the Orient Express.

Intrigue on the Orient Express
Preview of Chapter 6 - New Shine (Simplon Orient Express)

Media and extras

Hundreds of high-quality historical images are completed with interactive elements and multimedia:

Orient Express board game
Preview of Chapter 5 - War Train (Balkanzug, 1916-1918)

Famous persons

Short biographies of people — famous or forgotten — who were directly involved with the history of the Orient Express, including:

Orient Express celebrities
Preview of Chapter 1 - Prelude (Georges Nagelmackers)

Stations and hotels

Many of the monumental railway station and luxury hotels, closely connected to the Orient Express, are still present today:

Orient Express story
Preview of Chapter 3 - Golden Age (Istanbul Sirkeci station)

Writer's quotes

Dozens of quotations from eyewitness accounts by famous writers who travelled the Orient Express, including:

Orient Express story
Preview of writer's quotes (Agatha Christie)

Personal fascination

The Orient Express History app was born out of personal fascination of its creator, Dutch author Arjan den Boer, who delved into the subject for over 10 years and started his own collection of posters, brochures and photographs. About half of the featured images come from his collection, the rest is from museums, archives, libraries and other collectors.

Arjan den Boer is also the creator of RETOURS digital magazine on railway history, design and photography. He contributed the Orient Express chapter of the book Meals on the Move: Dining on the Legendary Railway Journeys of the World (Reaktion Books, London 2018).

Orient Express intro video

Download eBook

Orient Express History was originally created for iPad and has been adapted to eBook format for other users.

Available eBook editions:

Orient Express editions
Orient Express History editions (app and eBook)