International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe

Orient routes

The Orient Express routes

The Simplon Orient Express routes

 Starting in Paris with connections from the Channel ports, this route took in Strasbourg, München, Salzburg, Wien, Budapest and Bucureşti with a southward link from Budapest to Beograd then Sofia and Istanbul.


 Between the wars, an alternative route avoiding Germany was used by routing trains through the Arlberg from Zürich and Innsbruck to Wien and then onwards. This was the route of the Arlberg Orient Express. This route served tourists patronising the Arlberg region of western Austria together with Switzerland with south eastern Europe.

This was the Allies' answer to the Orient Express. This took a route through Lausanne and the Simplon Tunnel  to Milano, turning eastward to Venezia, Ljubljana and Zagreb, joining the Orient Express route at Beograd. The Simplon Orient Express only came into being following the Peace Treaties of 1918-20.


It had a branch from Vinkovci to Bucureşti via Timişoara up to the Second World War. Additionally beginning in 1920, a link was forged from Beograd through Thessaloniki to Athenai .

 By the end of the 19th Century the need was evident for a better route from southern Germany and the Austro Hungarian Empire to export goods from the Adriatic Coast at Trieste. The projected route traversed mountainous terrain with noticeable gaps.

The missing links were opened in 1909. This also afforded a new route for passengers from the north of Europe to Trieste and northern Dalmatia This also opened access from Jesenice to Ljubljana and thence Beograd which would add further long distance traffic to south east Europe.

The Tauern route

Channel port feeder service

 Of interest here are the links from Hoek van Holland, Ostend and Calais. The Calais links were cars which went forward to Paris and used the Grand Ceinture to transfer from Paris Nord to Paris Gare de Lyon for onward despatch Often these cars were stationed next to the arriving steamer.

 In the case of Hoek, through cars were often amalgamated with other expresses on route. Ostend had a number of trains which connected  through to a destination in South Central Europe

Orient services 1914-39 Orient Services 1946-99 Introducing the Orient routes Simplon Orient 1918-39 Simplon Orient 1946-99 Tauernbahn

Welcome to