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CIWL Venice Simplon Orient Express Dining car HR4135

CIWL Pullman Express service coach HR4137


Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (English: International Sleeping-Car Company), also CIWL, Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, or just Wagons-Lits, is an international hotel and travel logistics company, particularly known for its on-train catering and sleeping car services, as well as being the historical operator of the Orient Express.

Now part of the French Newrest group, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (et des Grands Express Européens) (English: The International Sleeping-Car (and European Great Expresses) Company) was founded by Georges Nagelmackers during 1872, in Belgium. CIWL quickly established itself as the premier provider and operator of European railway sleepers and dining cars during the late 19th and the 20th century.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a private luxury train service that travels from London to Venice that is popularly referred to as the Orient Express.

The original company was founded by James Sherwood of Kentucky, USA, in 1982; five years earlier, in 1977, he had bought two of the original carriages at auction when the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits withdrew from the Orient Express service, passing the service on to the national railways of France, Germany, and Austria. Over the next few years, Sherwood spent a total of $16 million purchasing 35 sleeper, restaurant and Pullman carriages. On 25 May 1982, the first London-Venice run was made.

It is currently owned by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. The company owns 50 luxury hotels, restaurants, tourist trains and river cruises in 24 countries.

On to the models

To give you an idea on the current quality oif these Rivarossi coaches being reviewed, lets look back and see a selection of coaches that continental modellers have had to manage with up until now.

Here is a Lima 1st Class CIWL Pullman coach No 4004 in Blue & Cream livery 1932. Model from the 70s or 80s.

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Here are a few early Jouef carriges these were absorbed into the Playcraft range in the early 1960's. Below, Jouef 5600 Dining car (originally 860).

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Below, (originally 460E), the Jouef 5630 CIWL luggage van with working tail lights. The model was produced from 1964 to 1976 and re-issued in 1979.

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Below, a more recent (1979) Jouef carrige 5610 CIWL Pullman Car (origionally 861 made from 1962 to 1976).

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Just to give you an idea on the difference in size between to old Lima and Jouef coaches and the longer new Rivarossi coaches, here is a shot of them together. The Rivarossi coach is the longer one.

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The Rivarossi coaches

The 231C "Super Pacific" locomotive No: 3.1265 in Chemin de Fer du Nord (CF du Nord) brown livery with type 38A tender would have pulled these CIWL night ferry coaches from the channel down to Paris. Built between 1931 and 1934.

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Below the CIWL coach No 3674 (Rivarossi model HR4135) - Bar car (61 87 09-70 674-0). Built 1931 in France as a dining car, it operated from Paris St Lazare to the harbours of Le Havre, Cherbourg and Dieppe. Later used in the Sud Express, Le Capitole and Flèche d'Or. New decoration by Gérard Gallet in Art Nouveau style for Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Photo of the real thing:

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Below the Pullman Orient Express No 4013 (Rivarossi model HR4137), Built in 1926, Renovated in 1967. Owned since 2007 byt the Compagnie Internationale des Evènements sur Rails CIER (Luxembourg).
Blue & Cream livery.
N° UIC 51 88 09 - 70 013 - 2.

See here for photos (including restoration) of the Pullman No 4013 Voiture CIER Pullman No 4013 - Reisezugwagen and Transfert de 3 voitures de la CIER à Ceske Velenice (CZ) - 8.2007

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Other side or the Rivarossi coaches:

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I am sure that you will agree that these are fine models. The sprung coupling will help the long lodels negotiate tight radius bends, and they will look elegant indeed couple together in a long train.

At £61.50, they don't come cheap, but compared to the older models, they certainly are of an exceptional quality. If you have a majestic old loco of the period, then these coaches will be perfect to display with it.

DFT - February 2012
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