The Orient Express is a legend on wheels. A sleeping car from the famous train line, built in 1941, is now in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg. During the night it was lifted onto the museum track by crane. There he joins another traveling carriage with history.
Gadebusch (dpa/mv) - How often have you seen the Orient Express in films: on the way from Paris to Istanbul, populated by elegantly dressed passengers, as the scene of a murder and its clarification by Hercule Poirot. One of the famous cars has now found a new home in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg, not far from the Baltic Sea. His arrival in the small town near the Baltic Sea was befittingly spectacular on Thursday night.
Bathed in glaring headlights, strapped to two cranes, the Orient Express sleeping car floated at midnight from the Deutsche Bahn operating track onto a museum track at the historic station building in the small town near the Baltic Sea. Holger Hempel, the proud new owner of the passenger carriage built in 1941, breathes a sigh of relief. They had four hours for the operation, then the route had to be reopened for the early train on the Parchim-Rehna route. The crew needed almost an hour for the action, which was followed by a few dozen onlookers.
It's worked out. The 80-year-old sleeping car apparently survived the journey from Gera in Thuringia, where it was last parked, to Gadebusch well. The deep blue paint with the golden yellow inscription "Sleeping Car" and the Orient Express crest is without scratches. The coat of arms features the intertwined initials WL for "Wagons Lits" held by two lions. After the 54-ton wagon has successfully floated to its new location, Holger Hempel greets him with a kiss.
Inside, the original equipment has been preserved in good condition. "As if the wagon had just come from production," says Hempel with satisfaction. Real wood veneer on the walls, checkered covers with "WL" initials on the folding beds. Each of the small compartments has a heater that was heated by a central oven in each car, Hempel says. "And between every two compartments you could take out the wall and make a larger compartment out of it." The floor is lined with red carpet.
Hempel does not reveal what he paid for the car. But how the historic piece found its way to him is no secret: the 51-year-old says it came from the heirs of a collector who wanted to get rid of it. An acquaintance mediated the matter. Hempel is no stranger to the historic railroad scene. A diesel locomotive from GDR production and a saloon sleeping car from the GDR government train that Erich Honecker traveled with already stand on his museum track. Vacationers can stay in it.
Tourists should also spend the night in the Orient Express wagon, says Hempel. "But I have to do a little something beforehand, for example repair the light." By the way, the car does not have a shower. The toilets have a museum character and should also keep it. Hempel's solution: "We will build a historic-style shower and toilet building next to the wagon."