The Growth of a World-
MODERN CARRIAGES owned by the International Sleeping Car Company, and built in 1930. The company was formed in Brussels in 1876. The total rolling-
THE vast extent of the United States of America is responsible for the great development of its railway system, which comprises nearly 263,000 miles, approximately the railway mileage of Europe. The journey across the North American continent from New York to San Francisco takes several days and nights, and it is not surprising that the question of sleeping accommodation occupied the attention of American railway companies at an early date.
Towards the end of the ‘sixties of last century a Belgian engineer, George Nagelmaekers, in the course of a protracted tour in America, learnt to appreciate the advantages of sleeping cars. On his return to Europe he set about introducing such cars on the Continent. His task was not an easy one, mainly because of frontier complications. The various railways operating in the different countries had political and economic interests which often clashed. M. Nagelmaekers had succeeded, however, in coming to an arrangement with the Belgian and with some of the French and German railways when the Franco-
At the end of the Franco-
IN THE ORIENT. A luxury train containing sleeping cars at the station of Harbin, in the State of Manchukuo. At Harbin the company possesses repair shops for its rolling-
In 1873 M. Nagelmaekers formed a company with a capital of five hundred thousand francs (£20,000 gold). This company was soon afterwards absorbed by “Mann’s Railway Sleeping Carriage Company”, of which Colonel Mann was the head and in which M. Nagelmaekers took a prominent part. New contracts with railway companies were made for exclusive concessions over periods from three to twenty years, and as many as twenty-
The first service of the new company was run from Paris to Mentone, on the French Riviera, and was an immediate success. The next step was the introduction of dining cars. Here also success was instantaneous, and the company decided to combine the comforts of sleeping cars and dining cars in one special train.
EXPRESS ROUTES over which sleeping cars are run are indicated above. The Rome Express, with all its sections, covers a total of 1,138 miles; the Vienna-
On June 5, 1883, the first international luxury train started on its historic journey from Paris to Vienna and Constantinople (Istanbul), then the capital of the Turkish Empire. The journey time was reduced by thirty hours and constituted a record for speed in those days. The train was called the “Orient Express”, and carried the mail. Shortly afterwards the company changed its name to Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-
THE VAST MILEAGE covered by the service of the sleeping-
The great success of the sleeping and dining car services caused a change in the attitude of the railway companies. Con-
Year by year new services on many continental railway systems and new luxury trains were instituted, such as the “Amsterdam-
The war naturally interfered with the international services, though national services such as those of France and Italy were maintained, notwithstanding the fact that all the lines were taxed to their utmost capacity by military necessities. It was in one of the company’s dining-
Immediately after the Armistice some of the principal services of the company were reorganized. Railway travel on the Continent in the first year or two after the Armistice was in many parts of Europe nothing less than an adventure. The rolling-
The first luxury train to be reinstated after the Armistice was the “Paris-
SERVICES FROM CALAIS TO THE EAST are run by the International Sleeping Car Company. The Simplon-
Besides these two main groups the company maintains a number of daily trains of a national character and a number of seasonal trains, such as the “Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) Express” or the “Luxor Express”. A complete list of all the trains run by the company in 1935 is given in tables on various pages of this chapter. The tables show the three categories of the company’s trains, the international trains, the national trains, and the Pullman trains. Besides these trains, the company runs 184 sleeping and 314 dining car services on the Continent, Africa and Asia.
THE INTERIOR of the historic coach in which the Armistice was signed. This car was attached to the train of Marshal Foch.
The organization of these services is no easy task and requires, in the first instance, a large rolling-
The position changes, however, with restaurant cars. A dining car travelling during luncheon hours from A to B will have to be utilized for dinner service from B to A; or it may be retained as far as C over tea-
PULLMAN TRAINS operating daily in Europe are shown on the map above. The Brussels-
In Germany the Wagons-
For the maintenance of its rolling-
THE “STAR OF EGYPT EXPRESS”, which runs daily in winter on the route Cairo-
The first sleeping cars, built in 1872, were four-
Early Bogie Coaches
In 1878 the decision to run complete trains led to the construction of carriages having open platforms at either end to allow the passage from one car to the other. A new type of sofa was introduced, in which the seat turned upside down so that the underside, constructed as a mattress, formed the bed. This obviated the necessity of providing an extra mattress required by the previous type of sofa. To improve the running of the cars the suspension of the springs of the carriages had a length of 7 ft 4½ in. In the meantime, dining cars had been put in service. Their potentialities had originally been tested with a number of third-
In 1883 bogie coaches were introduced. This type of coach was already in use in USA and on the British railways, but was then unknown on the Continent. It is difficult at this distance in time to realize the obstacles the company had to overcome to obtain the consent of the Continental railways to allow bogie cars over their lines. After many searching experiments on the Berlin-
A SLEEPING CAR OF 1884. Sleeping cars of this period afforded accommodation for twenty people, were gas-
The new bogie sleeping cars were built in two types, first class only, and composite first and second class. The open platform was abolished and vestibule connexions substituted. The length of the cars was increased, and the distance between bogie centres brought to 36 ft 9 in. The introduction of the continuous brake system on many Continental lines made it necessary to provide the company’s cars with the requisite fittings, and the weight of the sleeping cars increased to 26 and 27 tons.
SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN is an outstanding feature of the modern sleeping car. The corridor shown above is steam-
In 1889 the company built two sets of Club Trains for the London-
In 1890 several of new types of sleeping cars were built to suit the requirements of different countries. Among the new types was the sleeping car built for the “Gothard Express”, which contained two compartments of four berths and four compartments of two berths, the latter being equipped with a wash-
The introduction in 1894 of the “Ostend-
During the years 1901-
duced; in this system the current-
IN COACH NUMBER 2419 the Armistice which concluded the war of 1914-
From this date until 1922 the type of carriages remained practically unaltered, though continuous improvements were made in the interior arrangements and equipment, and the decoration of the cars become more and more elaborate. In. 1922 the company, always ready to adopt new methods and keep pace with the progress of railway engineering, began the con-
Some of the cars have eleven compartments with two berths each; the partition between two compartments is diagonal, and the wash-
THE “MANCHURIAN EXPRESS”, running from Harbin to Chang Choun, a distance of 147 miles, on the Chinese Eastern Railway, was inaugurated in 1906, and operated with coaches of the International Sleeping Car Company. By 1914 the Company had thirty-
Trains composed of Pullman cars were run for the first time on the Continent between Milan and Cannes in 1925. In the following year the famous “Golden Arrow” service between London and Paris was inaugurated. A description of the “Golden Arrow” appears in another chapter.
The table below gives details of the principal types of sleeping and dining cars built by the company since its inauguration.
Besides the rolling-
The general economic conditions prevailing in most of the Continental countries since the war necessitated the introduction of second-
FAR EASTERN ROUTES over which the International Sleeping Car Company’s services are in regular operation can be seen on this map.
The total rolling-
Particular mention should be made of the dining car services. In no other branch is the international character of the company so well revealed. Meals of several courses are served at stated hours and at fixed prices. At other times dishes may be ordered from the tariff. As a rule the dining car may be used by all classes of passenger without distinction; but this concession does not apply to Pullman services. The dining cars carry a large stock of wines and spirits. On the international trains special arrangements are made to meet the requirements of the customs authorities of the various countries through which the car is passing.
Wines and spirits, as well as tobacco, are kept in separate cupboards, one for each country. When the car passes, say, from France into Italy, the Italian customs officers seal the French cupboard and remove the seal from the Italian cupboard. On leaving Italy for Yugoslavia. the Yugoslav customs officers seal the Italian cupboard, and remove the seal from the Yugoslav cupboard, and so forth. This arrangement does not prevent foreign wines from being served in any of the countries traversed. But the French champagne ordered during dinner in Austria comes from the Austrian depot at Vienna and the Austrian duty has been paid on it, in the same way as the Chianti ordered for dinner somewhere in Poland has been supplied by the depot in Warsaw, which has paid the duty on it. The quantity of wines and spirits which the company keeps in its various depots and cars is of necessity large. In the company’s annual report for 1934 this item amounted to £130,000.
PORTUGUESE WEST AFRICA (Angola) and the Belgian Congo are included in the extensive territory where the traveller’s needs have been provided for by the International Sleeping Car Company.
The international travelling public met in the dining cars is generally exacting in its demands, and every through dining car has to carry a large-
They deal daily with a large number of passengers belonging to all nations of the world, where each has his own peculiarities and requirements, expressed in many different languages. The passengers may consist of Royalties and crooks, artists and millionaires, diplomats and spies, scientists and generals, old ladies and film stars, infants in arms and death-
SERVICES OUTSIDE EUROPE were begun by the Sleeping Car Company in 1901. In that year a luxury train on the Alexandria-
The activities of the International Sleeping Car Company are not confined to the running of luxury trains and other services. It maintains a chain of tourist offices in all countries where its services are running. Their number amounts to 198, to which 421 official agencies must be added. Since the amalgamation with Thos. Cook & Son, Ltd, a few years ago, all British and foreign offices of Cook’s form part of this vast organization. The headquarters of the company are in Paris, although the registered offices of the company are in Brussels. The divisional headquarters (in alphabetical order) of the company are at Aleppo (Syria), Algiers (French North Africa), Amsterdam (Holland), Athens (Greece), Basle (Switzerland), Belgrade (Yugo-
The company does not own any locomotives. Its express trains are hauled by the engines of the different countries through which the express trains travel. As speed is of the utmost importance for the service of the company, its trains are generally hauled by the most powerful engines available in each country. This is, of course, also necessary because of the weights of the luxury trains, which vary according to their composition. Thus, for example, the “Orient Express”, made up of three sleeping-
It is interesting to compare the speeds of the principal luxury trains in 1914 with those at the present time, as shown in the table shown above.
Some of these speeds do not appear at first sight to be out of the ordinary. But it must be borne in mind that the time of transit indicated includes all stops, which are numerous and often long, particularly at frontier stations. The “Simplon-
The services outside Europe require a few words of explanation. They may be conveniently placed in five groups -
As explained in the chapter “In Northern Africa”, the railways of Northern Africa serve Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. There are two main railway systems in Morocco -
Farther south, the lines associated with the International Sleeping Car Company are the Benguela Railway and the railways of the Belgian Congo. These are described in the chapter, “Across Africa by Rail”. The Benguela Railway runs for 837 miles across Angola (Portuguese West Africa) from Lobito Bay to the frontier of Belgian Congo, the first station in Belgian territory being Dilolo. The connecting Belgian line is known as the Leopoldville-
The Egyptian services, and those in the Far East, need no special explanation. In the Near East the sleeping car services are mainly those of the “Taurus Express”, which runs through Turkey-
It is difficult to value to its full extent the services which the International Sleeping Car Company has rendered and is rendering to the progress of civilization and culture. Nothing brings the nations of the world nearer to one another than travel, and nothing broadens the mind as much as direct acquaintance with other countries. The cultural mission of the company is in itself a matter which deserves the fullest acknowledgement. Those interested in railway matters will especially appreciate its eminent services.