The Inside Track…
One of the most luxurious, and deeply English, ways to travel through England’s glorious countryside is on the Orient-Express British Pullman. Over the last century, Orient-Express has come to symbolise the most romantic railway experiences available, and, as the birthplace of the locomotive, there’s no better place to experience the iconic brand’s opulent hospitality than in England. Orient-Express Managing Director Gary Franklin tells us why.
What is so quintessentially English about the Orient-Express?
The vintage Pullman carriages each have their own story to tell, from carrying royalty to suffering bomb damage during the Second World War. In them, we visit some of the most appealing places in England, and we reflect that in our menus. For example, when we go to Kent we offer a fantastic sparkling wine from the region; we offer native grown tea from Cornwall on the train; when we get to Cheddar we incorporate the finest local cheese as part of our cheese board. We’re really offering the best of England.
Why are the railways such an integral part of England’s make-up?
England is very proud of its role in the development of rail travel. The English pioneered it, the engines were made in the UK and there is a lot of justified pride. And that shows. People love sitting by the window, reading a book, having a drink, and admiring views of this unique English setting which is changing all the time, travelling in such a timeless fashion.
What do you think makes a journey with the Orient-Express in England so unique?
It’s the personal touches and an incredible, inimitable English style and setting. Our customers are travelling in a work of art, receiving a unique service. In today’s world, that’s a real luxury. Orient-Express has a fantastic, romantic history and a key aspect of that is that it’s all reflected in the places in England we travel through.
Tell us about some of the trains’ most famous passengers
Over the years we’ve enjoyed a fabulous roll call of the great and the good. The Queen Mother and various royals have been regular passengers, as was Winston Churchill. In fact one of the cars currently attached to the British Pullman was used as part of Winston Churchill’s funeral train. We also continue to carry overseas politicians as well as film and music stars. It has an enduring appeal as an example of glamour and luxury.