The nostalgia express

It's not so much the Orient Express as trains in general that call to nostalgia now that the ''new'' Orient's inaugural run is history. An Orient Express that does not reach Istanbul as before may be a contradiction in terms anyway.

It's romantic enough to think of the train on its own, restored to bygone luxury, going from London and on through the Simplon Pass to Venice. No wonder Liza Minnelli, Lady Kilmarnock, and others wanted to be on the first passenger list, even if not quite in the realm of such previous Orient Expressers as Caruso, Nijinsky, Debussy, Haile Selassie, and Sarah Bernhardt.

But again nostalgia rises not only for this train but for train-ness itself. For getting aboard almost any railroad and being separate from the world for a certain space of time. Or rather being in one's own world, able to move up and down the aisle, able to get a snack or a repast, able to turn in on sparkling sheets and dream to the music of the rails. At least that's the way it used to be. Didn't it?

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