International passenger

trains in 20th Century Europe

International passenger trains in 20th Century Europe


Orient Express


The Orient Express was restarted on 1 April 1946 from Paris to Wien. It had ceased to serve Athenai and Istanbul after 1946, The trsin was accelerated

Decline and fall of the Orient Express

The trsin was acceleratedin 1947 and rerouted from Wien to Budapest via Marchegg to serve Czechoslovakia.

With the coming of the Iron Curtain, traffic east of Wien proved increasingly elusive. This led to the Orient Express terminating in Wien instead of Bucureşti from summer 1955.

This situation  only lasted a year when it was re-extended from Wien to Bucureşti via Hegyeshalom but poor patronage in 1958 reduced it to six times-weekly running east of Wien - no sleeping car, only first and second class seating accommodation. This state of affairs lasted until summer 1962 when a substantial recast of services from North West Europe to South East Europe took place – including the all the orient expresses.

The rift between Soviet Russia and Yugoslavia in 1950 caused Berlin-Sofia traffic  to be diverted through Romania.

In the summer of 1991 the Orient Express stopped serving Bucureşti and was truncated to run Paris-Budapest. It was cut back further from Budapest to Wien in 2005 and was curtailed from Paris to Strasbourg when the TGV Est opened in 2007.

 By this time also, there were no longer through services from Paris to either Praha or Budapest. The Arlberg Express label continued on the Strasbourg-Wien route until 2009 when it ceased to run.

Orient Express to Praha and Warszawa

 The Cold War added destinations new to the Orient express – Praha and Warszawa. This route was designed to avoid Gemany.  The train was accelerated in 1947 and rerouted from Wien to Budapest via Marchegg to serve Czechoslovakia.

With the slow emergence of the Berlin-Warszawa route, the need for this more circuitous route gradually disappeared and accordingly the Praha-Warszawa portion, which had been reduced to thrice-weekly running in November 1958 was withdrawn in 1960.

The Paris-Praha section lasted until 1964 when it became a separate train. Paris-Praha trains continued to use the Cheb route until 1993 when the service was diverted through Saarbrücken, Frankfurt/Main, Leipzig and Dresden. Through trains from Paris to Praha had disappeared by 2002.

From Arlberg Orient Express to Wiener


 The Arlberg Orient Express restarted in 1946 as far as Basel, being extended to Wien and Praha on 18 March 1946 on a thrice-weekly basis. By 7 October 1946, the Arlberg Orient Express ran daily from Basel to Wien and Praha.

 A portion for Budapest, Beograd and Bucureşti ran thrice-weekly. After 1945, the Arlberg Orient Express lost its Athenai portion and by 1962 had lost its destinations east of Wien being renamed thereafter the Arlberg Express which terminated at Wien. A substitute service was created from the Arlberg to Bucureşti by extending an existing service from Basel which had previously terminated in Wien This was the Wiener Walzer Express.

A1-2: Orient


Services 1946-99

Orient Exp Timetables Orient routes

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