All aboard the Orient Express (photos)
Road Trip 2011: Many may not know that the present day version of the famous train experience includes a series of special day trips in England. CNET climbs aboard one of the world's most luxurious trains.
Blowing off steam
LONDON--You may not know it, but the present day version of the Orient Express means a lot more than the famous train journeys between the British capital and cities like Venice or Istanbul. In fact, the famous moniker now belongs to a company that has restored many 1920s- and 1930s-era carriages and runs luxury train trips in many places, including daylong journeys in England.
As part of Road Trip 2011, CNET got an inside look at the British Pullman, one of two U.K.-only Orient Express lines. The epitome of railroad luxury, the British Pullman takes passengers from London's Victoria Station to Bristol, England, among other trips.
Here, we see the steam engine of the British Pullman shooting off a jet just after having been refilled with 6,000 gallons of water.
The Orient Express company operates cruises, hotels, train trips, and more in countries throughout the world. It's also adding new trips such as a clay-pigeon shooting journey, a Chronicles of Southeast Asia trip, and two Shopping on the Rails adventures in England.
Out the window
A look out the window of the British Pullman at its steam engine as the train rounds a curve during its daylong round-trip journey from London to Bristol, England.
Pulling into Victoria Station
In this photograph, you can see the British Pullman arriving in London's Victoria Station, its engine blowing off steam.
Not all the British Pullman trips are powered by steam. Some use diesel. The steam-powered lines use Clan Line engines, as represented by this logo on the engine's side.
This attractive logo adorns the side of the British Pullman train.
Here, we see the British Pullman, with a steam engine, rounding a curve during one of its daylong journeys through Britain.
During a stop to refill the steam engine with 6,000 gallons of water, a volunteer shovels coal for the engine.
Filling the engine with water
A hose is attached to the steam engine, and volunteers fill her up with 6,000 gallons of water. The refilling happens twice during each journey.
During the first stop for water, most passengers got off the British Pullman in order to take photographs of the proceedings.
Passengers aboard the British Pullman. A steward pours a drink in the background.
Members of the train's staff awaiting passengers.
Steeple and river
Among the many delights of the British Pullman is what you can see out the window, including many hours' worth of British countryside, and some towns. Rivers and old churches also embellish the view from time to time.
The English countryside rushes by as the British Pullman rolls through Britain.
A look inside Gwen, one of the 11 carriages of the British Pullman. Note the comfortable chairs, and the exquisite workmanship and luxury appointments.
All along the British Pullman's route, train spotters wait for it to steam by so they can take photographs.
Orient Express chef
Passengers eat well while aboard the Orient Express. Here, we see the train's chef preparing dinner.
The British Pullman is made up of 11 classic carriages. Each has a long history of serving on English luxury lines, and each contains some of its historical information.
Crossing a bridge
The British Pullman crosses a rail bridge in England.
The staff on board the British Pullman excels at pouring and serving, even as the train rocks from side to side.
Passengers aboard the British Pullman are served two meals, a brunch at the beginning of the journey, and a five-course dinner toward the end of the day.
One of the major aesthetic features of the carriages is the marquetry, exquisite designs done by members of a family that worked on such artistry for the Queen of England, the Titanic, and other clients.