American Orient Express

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The American Orient Express passes through the countryside west of Butler, GA in April 2005.

American Orient Express, formerly the American European Express, operated a single luxury passenger train set in charter service between 1989 and 2008 and operated on routes throughout North America.

Background[edit]

A full dome car was added to the consist in the mid 2000s and offered a panoramic view of the passing landscape. The train catered to the wealthy and pricing varied depending the trip and amenities, ranging from $2,000-$10,000 per trip one way. The train operated under contract with Amtrak, and used both Amtrak locomotives and crews. It typically ran on freight only routes that had not seen passenger service in more than 50 years. Some of the more popular routes included the Los Angeles-Washington D.C transcontinental and the Rocky Mountain Adventure. Both featured breathtaking scenery throughout the trips with layovers in select cities affording the passengers the opportunity to enjoy the amenities each city offered. The trips were only one way, requiring disembarking passengers to either take a bus or airplane to return to their home terminal.

The late 2000s recession became the death knell for luxury passenger train excursions, and the AOE was not spared. On the final trips, it was not uncommon for there to be more crew members than passengers on the train. As part of a restructuring, the train was briefly renamed GrandLuxe Journeys with trips primarily running into Mexico. These final trips proved costly and unpopular and operations was terminated in 2008. Most of the equipment was either sold off or scrapped. [1]

There is no relation between this train and the more famous Orient Express owned by the Venice-Simplon Orient Express.

References[edit]