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Venice Simplon Orient-Express
Combining technical expertise with sensitivity and flair to resurrect a legend of luxury rail travel.
  • Project launched in 1982
The project on which JPA Design was founded. Restoring the Venice Simplon-Orient Express.

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has been called the ‘World’s Most Celebrated Train’. JPA was commissioned to return the world-renowned design icon and legend of luxury rail travel to its original state – with a few mod cons.

Our brief was to restore and return the carriages to the style of the original, and to capture the sense of adventure, romance, elegance and style of luxury train travel in the Orient Express’s heyday.

The success of JPA’s VSOE project has led to a long journey with Belmond. A springboard to a 30-year relationship, projects since have included the Belmond Northern Belle, the Belmond Royal Scotsman, the Eastern and Oriental Express, and in 2016 the Belmond Grand Hibernian, a luxury rail service which operates in Ireland.

The challenge was immense.

The original rolling stock required extensive refurbishment to the main structures to ensure the refurbished carriages would meet all modern fire, health and safety standards.   Further more we were asked to stick to the original carriage layouts and features where possible - happily for today’s guests we were able to introduce washroom facilities at the end of each sleeper carriage that, along with other modern fittings, ensure the VSOE is a luxury rail service which is fully compliant for both health and safety and the modern guest.

Restored to perfection

Once we had ensured the carriage structures and interiors met today’s safety standards, the bulk of our work was focused on restoring as many of the original interior features as possible, and making sure that any new additions were seamlessly integrated.  All the original Lalique glassware was restored alongside new and refurbished marquetry and panelling in all twelve sleeping cars, three restaurant cars and the observation/bar car.

Heading West

JPA’s success with the VSOE and British Pullman services led to another exciting commission, this time in the Americas. The Andean Explorer is a luxury rail service running between Cuzco, The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu in the heart of Peru.

Our brief was to completely refurbish the rolling stock of the Belmond Andean Explorer, and to develop new colour schemes for the Belmond Hiram Bingham. JPA staff worked for extended periods in Peru, overseeing the final build of the trains. After the initial restoration of the carriages (bringing them up to modern safety standards) the interiors were refurbished in a style that reflects Peru’s rich landscapes, cultures and heritage, and included two dining cars, a bar car and an open-air observation car, a feature that’s unique in South America.

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