ZURICH, Switzerland — A bit of train history was up for sale last month when 23 of the original Orient Express carriages that ran between Paris and Istanbul before World War II were put on the market in Switzerland.
Swiss travel operator Reiseburo Mittelthurgau, which bought the cars in 1993, said it had become too expensive to run its luxury train tours, which go to Moscow and Beijing and also make day trips from Switzerland. Those tours haven't been marketed in the U.S., said Bjarne Mikkelsen, president of EuroCruises Inc. in New York, which handles U.S. sales of the Swiss firm's cruises. Unaffected are the Venice Simplon- Orient-Express in Europe, the Eastern & Oriental Express in Asia, the Great South Pacific Express in Australia and the American Orient Express, which are run by different companies. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express owns 17 of the 1920s and '30s cars, officials said.