With the opening of the Simplon Tunnel in 1919, London's elite would flock to Europe aboard the luxury trains. A Grand Tour of europe aboard one of these trains was considered glamourous. Leaving from London, the rail route passed through Paris and Venice through the Alps before ending in Istanbul. In a series for LIFE from 1950, photographer Jack Birns captures the aesthetic and lifestyle of the post-war holiday boom aboard the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express. The train still carries passengers form London to Venice regularly, and once a year it recreates the trip from Paris to Instanbul.
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