Accorhotels and SNCF Group have signed a deal to continue the development of the Orient Express brand within the luxury hospitality sector globally.

As part of the partnership, Accorhotels will acquire a 50 per cent stake in the share of capital of Orient Express, which was formerly fully owned by SNCF.

The famous Orient Express made its first trip 134 years ago on October 4 1883. The iconic train connects European cities from Paris to Istanbul. SNCF has been actively involved in the development of the brand since 1977, namely the restoration of vintage carriages dating from the 1920s.

Accorhotels says it will utilise the partnership to develop a new collection of luxury hotels under the Orient Express brand. In addition, the refurbished art deco train cars will remain the property of French rail group SNCF, which says the train will provide a backdrop for events that can be held in collaboration with Accorhotels’ other brands.

The two firms will also work together to preserve and promote the heritage connected to the historic train.

The news comes more than three years after luxury hotel operator Orient-Express rebranded as Belmond. At the time, Belmond retained its licence with SNCF for the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.,

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