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Logo of Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits 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 Accor 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. Contents 1 History 1.1 A monopoly 1.1.1 Hotels 1.2 Competition with Mitropa 1.3 Decline 2 Today 3 Corporate history 3.1 Thomas Cook 3.2 Accor 3.3 Carlson Wagonlit Travel 4 Famous CIWL trains 4.1 Orient Express 4.2 Nord Express 4.3 Sud Express 4.4 Train Bleu 4.5 Transsibérien 4.6 Night Ferry 4.7 London Vichy Pullman Express 5 1918 Armistice coach 6 In popular culture 7 CIWL in different languages 8 External links 9 References // History A monopoly During his trip to the USA in 1867–1868 the twenty-three year-old Belgian Georges Nagelmackers was impressed by the Pullman night trains. Upon his return home, he decided to establish a network of such trains in Europe. He envisioned that such trains should be luxurious and travel across borders. In 1874 Nagelmacker founded the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits and the et des Grands Express Européens addition became part of the name ten years later. By 1886 his company had become the main organiser for most European heads of state. The symbol "WL" held by two lions became a well-known trade mark. Historic Wagons-Lits restaurant car in Austria in 2003. The company ran either complete trains of Wagon-Lits cars or their individual sleeping and dining cars were coupled onto regularly scheduled trains operated by the state railways of the European countries through which the Wagon-Lits cars passed. These cars were always drawn by locomotives of the various state railways, as Wagon-Lits did not operate its own fleet of locomotives. Prior to World War I, CIWL held a monopoly being the only group catering to the needs of the international railroad traveller. The company introduced famous services, such as the Orient-Express, the Nord Express, and the Sud Express and expanded to markets outside Europe with involvement in the Transsibérien across Russia. Hotels In 1894 Compagnie Internationale des Grands Hotels was founded as a subsidiary. They began offering a chain of luxury hotels at major cities. Among these were Hotel Terminus in Bordeaux and Marseilles, the Hotel Pera Palace in Istanbul, the Hotel de la Plage in Ostend, and the Grand Hotel des Wagons-Lits in Beijing (Peking). Competition with Mitropa With the start of World War I CIWL's coaches were confiscated for military use. In Germany and Austro-Hungary Mitropa was founded to take over the property and services of CIWL. In 1918, the communists in Russia expropriated CIWL's local rolling stock and hotels. After the conclusion of WWI CIWL demanded to have its central European service routes restored. It regained these for Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia; however, in Germany the Reichsbahn and Mitropa sabotaged this process. Eventually, CIWL and Mitropa came to an agreement about their spheres of influence that was signed on April 23, 1925. It stipulated that CIWL would handle transit through Germany and routes between Germany and one of these countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. In turn Mitropa took over the routes between Germany and the Netherlands and Scandinavia, as well as trains within Germany, and to Danzig. Trains between Germany and Austria were served by both companies. In the interbellum, CIWL flourished again. The company's blue and gold livery was introduced. In 1925 Wagon-Lits opened its first Travel Palace in Paris. Metal coaches , replacing older wooden ones constructed of teak, became available in 1926. In 1931 the fleet reached its maximum of 2268 vehicles. Services extended to the near east, Aleppo, Baghdad, Cairo, and Tehran. Decline A first setback came in 1938, when with the anschluss the Austrian market was lost to Mitropa (it was again recovered after 1945). With WWII and its the subsequent communist expansion CIWL lost more markets in Central and Eastern Europe. After WWII CIWL started to focus more on the travel agency and management business. Accordingly it was renamed Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et du Tourisme (CIWLT) in 1967, and later just called Wagons-Lits. By 1971 the rolling stock of CIWL had become aged and outdated, and the renovation and replacement needed was beyond the company. It sold or rented its coaches to the SNCF, FS, SBB, DB, ÖBB, NMBS/SNCB, NS, DSB and RENFE. An international sleeping car pool named TEN = Trans Euro Night was founded at that time and took over and managed (until 1995) many of the carriages of CIWL and of the Mitropa-successor DSG. Today Wagons-Lits is headquartered in Paris. Currently CIWL provides service on night trains in Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal and meal and catering services in daytime trains of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and on Eurostar services to the United Kingdom. A number of sleeping-cars on the European continent are owned by CIWL. The cars are maintained by the sister company Rail Service International (RSI) in the Netherlands and leased to train operating companies. Also luxury trains such as the historic Orient Express are managed. Corporate history The company currently operates in Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the UK. The specifics of the services provided have varied based mergers and splits within the company and to the surrounding business climate. Thomas Cook In 1927, Thomas Cook was sold to CIWL after poor financial results, although CIWL took a back-role in the running of the subsidiary.[1] Accor In 1991 Wagons-Lits became part of the French multi-national Accor Hotel and Leisure Group. At the time, CIWL included the hotel brands Altea, Arcade, Etap, PLM and Pullman. Catering organisation Eurest and in the automobile world, Wagons-Lits included Europcar rental and motorway break specialists Relais Autoroute.[2] Following the 1992 purchase, The Pullman hotels were gradually rebranded to Sofitel, allowing the Pullman name to be reused in 2007 for a new class of conference hotel. Sixty-eight existing Accor hotels will be transferred over , including some Sofitel that had formerly been Pullman hotels originally.[3] Carlson Wagonlit Travel Main article: Carlson Wagonlit Travel In 1997, the Europe business travel and leisure retail arm of Wagons-Lits (Wagonlit Travel) was merged on an equal basis with that of Carlson Travel Network (operating in the United States)[4]. The result was a new company called "Carlson Wagonlit Travel" jointly owned by Accor and Carlson Holdings Inc., the former parent companies of the merged entities[5]. The Carlson side of the merger had grown from a travel agency founded by Ward Forster in the United States in 1888. Originally called "Ask Mr. Foster", the chain was renamed to "Carlson Travel Network" following an earlier purchase by the Carlson Group. Accor sold its 50% of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in 2006 for €500m to Carlson Companies and One Equity Partners[6]. However, Accor maintains its interest in the railway service sector of Wagon Lits. Famous CIWL trains Orient Express Main article: Orient Express From 1883, running from Paris–Istanbul in three nights and three times per week in each direction. The Orient Express deployed the first sleeping and dining cars for long-distance train travel in Europe. In 2003, the company restored seven cars of the famous Pullman Orient Express and made it available for tourist events. After 2007, the night sleeper service retaining this the famous Orient Express name now only operates between Strasbourg in France and Vienna in Austria. The Orient Express made its last run on 14 December 2009, made obsolete by Europe's high-speed rail network. Nord Express Main article: Nord Express The Northern Express connected Paris with St. Petersburg (later Riga), via Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe. Originally begun in 1884, the service is now run by DB NachtZug from Paris as far as Hamburg, although previously it has served Copenhagen in Denmark. Sud Express Main article: Sud Express The Southern Express connected Paris–Lisbon starting in 1887, to provide the second-half of the through connection from St. Petersburg (Finland/Russia) via Paris to the west coast of Portugal. In Lisbon, travellers could transfer to steam-ships crossing across the Atlantic. Train Bleu Main article: Le Train Bleu (train) The Blue Train linked Paris/Calais–Southern France overnight was operating using Wagons-Lits cars up until 1938. It was actually operated by French company called Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée. Transsibérien Main article: Trans-Siberian Railway The Trans-Siberian Express was run under contract to Russian Tsar up until 1917 during World War I. The service ran from Moscow to Vladivostok and Peking, taking over one week in each direction. Night Ferry Main article: Night Ferry The Night Ferry provided a through London to Paris overnight sleeper train. Wagons-Lits provided twelve cars specially-constructed for the service and designed to fit the smaller British loading gauge. The service lasted from 1936 to 1980, using the same rolling-stock throughout its history. Before the introduction of high-speed Eurostar services, this was the only through service, the cross-channel segment being transported on a series of train-ferries between Dover and Dunkirk. London Vichy Pullman Express Main article: London Vichy Pullman Express The Londres-Vichy Pullman Express ran between London and Vichy in France primarily to serve passengers wishing to visit the thermal baths for which Vichy was famous. It was established by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits on 14 May 1927 until the service ended on 19 September 1930. 1918 Armistice coach Main article: Armistice with Germany (Compiègne) The 1918 Armistice with Germany was signed in CIWL #2419 ("Le Wagon de l'Armistice"). The same wagon was also used for the 1940 Armistice with France between France and Nazi Germany. The carriage itself was taken to Berlin as a trophy of war, along with pieces of a large stone tablet which bore the inscription (in French): Here on the Eleventh of November 1918 Succumbed the Criminal Pride of the German Reich. Vanquished by the Free Peoples Which it Tried to Enslave.. The railway carriage itself was taken to Crawinkel in Thuringia, Germany in 1945, where it was destroyed by SS troops and the remains buried. In popular culture CIWL model railway cars have been manufactured by many companies including Märklin, Fleischmann, Trix, Jouef, Bachmann, France Trains and Tri-ang. Rivarossi also produced very detailed models, discontinued in the late nineties, production restarted lately with the new society affiliated to Hornby. In 1991, David Copperfield performed a televised illusion which caused a recently-restored "Orient Express dining car" (in fact an American dining car decorated in Wagon-Lits colours) to seemingly vanish into thin air. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot had a mystery to solve on the Orient Express in Murder on the Orient Express. CIWL in different languages Czech: Mezinarodni Společnost Lůzkových Vozů (a Velkých Evropských Expresnich Vlaků) German: Internationale (Eisenbahn-)Schlafwagen-Gesellschaft Danish: Det Internationale Sovevogns- (og de Store Europæiske Eksprestogs-)Selskab English: International Sleeping-Car (and Great European Expresses) Company Finnish: Kansainvälinen Makuuvaunu- (ja Euroopan Pikajuna)yhtiö French: Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (et des Grands Express Européens) Greek: Διεθνής Εταιρία Κλιναμαξών (και Ταχειών Ευρωπαϊκών Αμαξοστοιχιών) Hungarian: Nemzetközi Vasúti Hálókocsi Társaság Italian: Compagnia Internazionale delle Carrozze (con) Letti (e dei Grandi Treni Espressi Europei) Dutch: Internationale Maatschappij voor Slaapwagens en Europa's Groote Sneltreinen Polish: Międzynarodowe Towarzystwo Wagonów Sypialnych (i Expresów Europejskich) Portuguese: Companhia Internacional das Carruagens-Camas (e dos Grandes Expressos Europeus) Romanian: Compania internaţională a vagoanelor cu paturi (şi a marilor exprese europene) Russian: Международное Общество Спальныхъ Вагоновъ (и Скорыхъ Европейскихъ поъздовъ) Serbian: Međunarodno Društvo Kola za Spavanje / Међународно Друштво Кола за Спавање Spanish: Compañía Internacional de Coches-Camas (y de los Grandes Expresos Europeos) Turkish: Avrupa Sürat Katarları ve Beynelmilel Yataklı Vagonlar Şirketi External links Official website References ^ Time Magazine, Commonwealth Edition, Wagon-Cooks, 1928-02-28. ^ Accor Hospitality North America, Accor History. ^ Caterer Search (Reed Business Information), Accor revives Pullman brand, 2007-08-31. ^ Competition Commission. "Wagons-Lits / Carlson". European Union.  ^ "More than a century of milestones". History. Carlson Wagonlit Travel.  ^ "Accor to return cash as sell-off intensifies". Financial Times. 2006-09-06.