Venice Simplon-Orient-Express comes to Brussels in June 2021 and April 2022

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) will travel to and from Brussels in June 2021 and April 2021. 

In 2021, there will be a Venice to Brussels-Midi/Zuid service on the 19th. The return trip is the 24th. In 2022 the dates are 9 April Venice to Brussels and 14 April Brussels to Venice. Imagine Travel is selling tickets. And yes, luxury and exclusivity come at a price.

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The VSOE is a private luxury train service from London to Venice and other European cities. It is currently owned by Belmond, which operates 45 luxury hotels, restaurants, tourist trains and river cruises in 24 countries.

These VSOE services are not to be confused with a regularly scheduled train called the Orient Express, which ran nightly between Paris and Bucharest – in the last years of operation cut back to between Strasbourg and Vienna – until 11 December 2009. 

This latter was a normal EuroNight sleeper train and was the lineal descendant of the regular Orient Express daily departure from Paris to Vienna and the Balkan

While this descendant train was primarily used for every sort of passengers to Central and Eastern Europe, applying only the standard international train fares, the VSOE train is aimed at tourists looking to take a luxury train ride. 

The train was established in 1982 by James Sherwood of Kentucky, USA. In 1977 he had bought two original carriages at an auction when the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits withdrew from the Orient Express service, passing the service on to the national railways of France, Germany, and Austria.

“Simplon”

In the olden days there were more than one Orient Express services. The eponymous Simplon refers to the Simplon Tunnel in Switzerland.

Belgian link

The VSOE continental leg contains 18 carriages – 12 sleeping cars, three dining cars, a bar car and two former Ytb class sleepers, which provide accommodation for the staff and storage rooms for luggage and supplies as well. The ten Lx class sleepers have nine double compartments, while the two S1 class sleepers used to accommodate 17 passengers in four double and nine single compartments. 

As of March 2018 the Grand Suite class was introduced with the refitting of the S1 sleeping car No. 3425. The three suites (Paris, Istanbul and Venice) include double or twin bed layouts and a drawing saloon with a sofa (which is convertible to a third bed) and en-suite bathroom.

Three further suites in the second S1 sleeping car No. 3309 (Prague, Budapest and Vienna) were introduced to the service in March 2020.

Most of the coaches were refurbished in Ostend by the CIWL workshops, while the rest at the Hansa carriage works in Bremen. The renovation was made with some technical modifications, to match today’s safety and comfort requests, for example the dining cars were fitted with modern kitchens. 

They have also become air-conditioned, which was introduced in 2017 even in the sleeping cars. In the mid 2000s the original bogies were changed to brand new ones to achieve higher speeds (160 km/h instead of 140 km/h). 

As you can see on the photos Danny took on his 2014 visit to the Institut du monde arabe in Paris, the carriages were built in Nivelles (Nijvel) and have instructions in French and Dutch.

More on this subject

Thank you Sven from Touristico Gay for the tip. 

Source info: Wikipedia.

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