"Murder on the Orient Express" Reader's GuidePage 3
THE ORIENT EXPRESS
The Orient Express was never a physical train, but a long distance rail passage from far western Europe to the brink of Asia. The Orient Express and the cars that passed along its tracks became symbols of luxurious comfort in an era where long distance travel was often fraught with hardship and danger.
The actual route could, in fact, vary with five different routes used during various time periods. The western terminus was generally Calais with one route beginning/ending in Paris and another going as far as London. The eastern end was traditionally the Turkish city of Istanbul, straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, although other eastern cities were also destinations. Given the descriptions found in Murder on the Orient Express, it is clear that the train in question was following the Simplon Orient Express route shown in green on the map. This route, named for the over twelve mile tunnel beneath the Alps, would have allowed the train to be stranded as described between the towns of Vinkovci and Slavonski Brod in current Croatia.