Abandoned Orient Express Train Reminds Us Of The Luxury Travel Of The Past

Brian, a Rotterdam-based urban photographer, has managed to capture a piece of history that is slowly disappearing into obscurity, especially the Grand Orient Express. The train typified luxury when it was introduced by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits in 1883. (CIWL).

There are only a few of these magnificent creatures remaining in the world. One was converted into hotel accommodations aboard the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. The other, as shown in the photos below, is dormant in Belgium, undisturbed since its last excursion in December 2009.

“When I enter inside an abandoned location, it seems like stepping into a time warp,” says the urban explorer and photographer. “I attempt to feel the emotions of its history, and that is what I aim to express in my photographs,” Brian says on his website. “I consider myself to have succeeded when people look at my art and ask “what, why, and when.”

View of the abandoned Grand Orient Express train in Belgium. Abandoned seven years ago, the once-luxurious train is crumbling in decay. (IMP Features/Brian Romeijn)
The train carriage and locomotive have been left to rot at a train yard in Belgium, attracting urban explorers

The golden era of train travel was a period when the trip did not take a back seat to the destination when passengers enjoyed sumptuous facilities while watching different landscapes rush by their windows. The Orient Express train, which first traveled between Paris and Istanbul in 1883 (additional routes were later added), became synonymous with luxury travel—and mystery.

A Grand Orient Express train that was abandoned seven years ago in Belgium still exudes the mystery of one of the world’s greatest train excursions. Brian Romeijn, an urban explorer and photographer, recently captured photographs of the train, which is now collapsing in decay with moth-eaten seats and rusted ceilings.

This creepy uncertainty, according to the Rotterdam-based photographer, is exactly what draws him to abandoned ruins. “It seems like stepping into a time warp when I enter inside an abandoned site,” he remarked on his website. “I attempt to feel the emotions of its history, and that is what I aim to convey in my photographs.”

Despite the fact that they all hail from a bygone age, not all Orient Express trains have been abandoned. Each compartment of the Venice-Simplon Orient Express train has been restored to its former magnificence, recreating one of the world’s best luxury experiences. It is presently a private luxury train service from London to Venice and other European destinations. It aspires to recreate the Orient Express’s luxurious experience, including lavish cabins and suites and five-star food.

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