For nearly a century, the Orient Express symbolised the height of wealth and extravagance in Europe.
The Paris-Istanbul route has been immortalised in cinema and TV after featuring in Agatha Christie’s detective novel Murder on the Orient Express.
While the original luxury train was shut down in 1977, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) runs several routes across the continent.
Travellers are able to board the opulent train in Istanbul, Rome, Prague, Geneva and Amsterdam among other cities.
Passengers had also been able to ride the service from central London’s Victoria station to Folkestone.
But Belmond, the company that runs today’s VSOE, has now decided to drop this leg of the route because it has become too difficult to cross the border to Calais, in France, because of Brexit.
A spokesperson told the Guardian they are adjusting operations in 2024 ahead of enhanced passport and border controls.
‘We want to avoid any risk of travel disruption for our guests – delays and missing train connections – and provide the highest level of service, as seamless and relaxed as possible,’ they said.
Until recently, passengers would board coaches to cross the Channel to meet the train at Calais.
Under new regulations, they must get off and have their passport checked prior to crossing.
But in recent weeks, there have been delays at Dover for up to 14 hours as a result of post-Brexit security checks.
This created an unacceptable risk for the company, as there is no way for guests to avoid the wait.
Belmond’s announcement comes just weeks after Easter holidays were cut short by a 10-hour wait at the Dover crossing.
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