Bulgaria announced the completion of a program to upgrade its historic rail link with Turkey. Presumably, this will allow the resumption of through rail service between Istanbul and Eastern Europe — in effect, the eastern end of the fabled Orient Express route. According to the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable, the Bulgaria-Turkey link has been served recently by a bus connection, but I suspect that the new timetable, later this year, will allow resumption of through rail and sleeper service.
Except for a few deluxe and hyper-expensive luxury excursion trains, no ordinary rail system has run the former complete Orient Express route from Calais or Paris to Istanbul for decades. But through trains have operated from Bucharest and Belgrade, with connections to routes throughout Europe. If you’ve longed to do the Orient Express route, you’ll probably be able to do it later this year.
— Ed Perkins, editor
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