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CIWL - Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits


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I'm a big fan of the look of elegance and luxury of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens carriages, and their association with the various "Orient Express" services.  I think we are all familiar with the blue and cream of the traditional LX sleeper cars, especially since Kato has produced two separate sets.


This set of carriages including sleepers, restaurant and baggage cars, were produced by Minitrix over 30 years ago.  While some bogie and other detail is quite coarse, these are fine models that feature internal lighting and look fantastic. 


The reddish brown and cream colour go very well together in this Epoch I consist.


Special thanks to TheNicofabi for helping me purchase these. 




Minitrix 13178, 13179, 13180, 13181, 13182, 51 3182 being pulled by

Hobbytrain H4006 Dampflok BR18.3 DB

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As you can see, the bogie frames are not all that well done, and the CIWL logo is pretty much just a blob... a long way from Kato's modern day results.  But all in all, not too bad.


There are pickup wipers on the axles to send power up into the internal lighting, but the wheels are not particularly free-rolling and as a result, the cars are very "heavy".





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Martijn Meerts

I have a few of these as well, but they're not in great condition. The power pickup wipers is unfortunately the standard way of doing it for Minitrix, Roco, Fleischmann etc. On longer consists it actually creates so much drag that locomotives can't pull it anymore.

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I have a "Flèche d'or" train (Golden Arrow - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Arrow_(train)) train that worked on the line Paris/London from 1926 to 1972 (except during WW2, of course). A, see pic below, "Chapelon" steam engine - in 1935 - went 174 Km/h and from 1931 on a "Brown" unit (tipycal livery of Northern France Railways) is locate in the Mulhouse Railway Museum.





Pic from http://www.rivarossi-memory.it


Back to my models now: the left red arrow points to a "Chapelon" Steam loco (brown) pulling three CIWL coaches while the right red arrow points to an Egytian CIWL coach (run on the line Cairo/Asswan, service begun in 1929).




PS: Pics (low quality I know) show my Rivarossi/Lima N-gauge - vintage -  models (at the moment sleeping in Rome) and the Egytrian coach.

PS II: The left green Arrow points to a Rivarossi (N gauge too) Big-Boy: I know is not fully related to the topic but I like that loco, so ... ;)



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Love the Chapelon 231's... fantastic machine.  I have the one from Roco in HO.


Coming back to CIWL, here is the most well-known and familiar of the modern day trains running CIWL stock, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, by Arnold/Hornby.


The painting and lettering of these cars are excellent, and the close-coupling mechanism works well for reducing the gaps between cars while going around curves smoothly.  The painted bogies and wheels are really very nice.  Unfortunately, there are little-to-no separately applied parts - the underfloor equipment is moulded detail; no flush glazing, no hand rails, roof-ribs are oversized and the wheels do not roll freely (and no electrical pickups to blame).  A little disappointing for reasonably expensive models.




Arnold HN4106 (Venice Simplon Orient Express CIWL coach pack with 2 dining & 1 kitchen car), HN4017 (Venice Simplon Orient Express CIWL coach pack with 2 sleeping cars) x 2, hauled by

HOBBYTRAIN/Lemke H2830 DB BR110 Electric Locomotive Epoch IV

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What puzzles me a bit is a DB steam engine (OK, also the Chapelon is a a stema engine) pulling a British/French train. For the As far as the nowadays train is concerned I find a little odd (no mean to doubt what You're saying) all the problems that this model, after all is a Kato product, seems to have.


Till later


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Ciao Francesco.


I'm not sure if I have understood your question, but CIWL rolling stock ran throughout Europe, not just in Britain and France.  If anything, the British trains were Pullmans rather than CIWL blue/cream most of the time, if I have my history right. 


None of the products I have shown above are Kato.  I am merely comparing some of them to Kato.  The brown/cream ones are Minitrix, the blue/cream ones are Arnold.

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Deep apologises for my english. This being said my "mistake" was in the beginnig:; the "Golden Arrow" was one of the lines run by CIWL (and not the only one). As far as Your model are concerned I was puzzled by Your remaks on a Kato model. I was wrong also in this case ...



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I too am a big fan of these CIWL coaches and am contemplating buying the Marklin Orient Express 5+2 Car Set.  A gentleman from another forum is selling his for a really good price and it's in like new condition.  I don't really know what I'll be doing with it aside from displaying and admiring it but I figured the details must be so awesome compared to the Kato Orient Express and those are already excellent models.




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I have one of the Kato sets of the 1988 Orient Express run (the 23215-2) plus a small number of single cars. The whole 15 car set is way too large for my little temp layout. 

It was a dream becoming true for me, a really long runner train, with absolutely amazing detail. I still struggle to find some fitting "what if..." locos from the various countries crossed. At least that, since most of the real used ones of the historic run are impossible to get (I have a list from the web). Posted lately about one which might have been used as well in Russia.


Nevertheless, searching through the auctions on the E-Bay, sometimes I thought about getting Arnold cars for missing OE rolling stock. I'm still not sure how that would look like.

Old Mtx models of the Rheingold Express are out of question since they're not blue but sort of purple.


Did one of you test about the blue shades of Kato vs. Arnold OE?

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Here are one of my Arnold VSOE on the left, Kato NIOE on the right.  The blue colours are pretty good in my opinion, although the finish is slightly different and the Arnold one is only very slightly lighter.

Not really the best photo, but as you can see, the carriages together don't look too bad if you ignore the roofs and don't look too closely at the detail...



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Ah, thanks for that. Probably the blue is no problem. But the detail is really different, most of all the CIWL logo.

One might argue that the Arnold cars had a long time of running since their last maintenance and overhaul so the leaf gold color is somewhat eroded...

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There is a fairly recent Arnold East-German DR Mitropa sleeper coach set which consists of former CIWL coaches. 

These remained un Germany after WWII but were completely modified in the early 1950s, so this set replicates them before this modification. 


The larger one is the same set in H0 by Rivarossi, which my father bought. 

Edited by Suica
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Ooh... that set looks really nice, I think it's in H0, yes?  I think Hobbytrain / LEMKE make a current model of these carriages (still to be released soon).



Yeah it is HO.  Ooh, I will keep on the lookout for these in N scale.  


I actually had a single Minitrix CIWL Coach that I sent to Nicofabi.



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It's really hard to get a good photo of this without some sort of moving track to take a smooth panoramic photo.  I kind of gave up and took this one instead.  It's much harder to fit everything into shot in H0.


The Rivarossi H0 CIWL carriages are really very good, but the steam locomotive at the front is one of the finest examples of steam engineering ever.




Rivarossi HR4088, HR4089, HR4090 Ostend-Wien CIWL Orient Express hauled by

Roco 62303 SNCF 231E Chapelon Pacific Steam locomotive

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I just got the Marklin 42796 - Prototype: The "Paris - Karlsbad - Prag - Express" running in the summer months. The cars of this train ran together with the Orient-Express to Stuttgart, and 2 cars were added in Stuttgart. 2 Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens (CIWL) sleeping cars. The cars look as they did in 1922 - 1928.


It's stunning - the previous owner changed his mind about selling the 5 Car set and only wanted to sell the 2 Car add on.  The detail is amazing and blue color with gold trims and white roof is beautiful and so elegant.  Actually I'm okay just with the 2 cars because I just really want to display and admire them.  





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Yes, those are the ones. I'm waiting for the price to show up on Lippe. Usually they will give quite deep discounts and end up cheaper than HS for European models, so long as you can get an order in before they are sold out.


I've noticed CIWL/Orient Express stuff tends to sell out in a flash these days.

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Playday today... tried several configs with all the stuff I collected for my NIOE88 so far.

Rivetcount warning: none of the photos may be prototypical. Did this just for fun, on an anonymous layout of a mainline anywhere in the world.


Since I have no French loco so far, the dual-voltage pair of 181s needs to haul the train through France and (western) Germany...




Eastern Germany and maybe Poland a Diesel does the job...




Soviet Union towards the Transib is electrified...




Somewhere in China the Great Chairman Mao himself moves the cars...




And of course, in Japan, our beloved EF65-500 is at her best...




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A nice overview of the NIOE88 train composition in East-Germany can be found here.

It was pulled by a DR BR 01 (01 2137) and BR 01.5 (01 1531) from Helmstedt to Berlin, with an SNCF DD type baggage car between the locos and the CIWL cars.

The train was then hauled by two DR BR 132 (132 644 + 132 664) to Frankfurt/Oder and then taken over by something from the PKP's inventory. I can't find any information on this though. Also, a DB BR 110 was used in West Germany

Models of those exact steam locos are obtainable. BR 132 models are available as well albeit with different numbers. But I've never seen the DD type baggage car. Afaik there's only the H0 model by Roco.


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I got information about the NIOE88's overall composition from here:


Though it seems to be not entirely complete.

I was aware about the 01s in double-traction at least in part of Eastern Germany and it would be a nice reason to buy models of these steamers (one of my childhood heroes). However, further information is hard to get, you have basically random photos of which some show also the locos in a certain place. Unfortunately, not from all locations. 

I such cases I tend to take a "modeller's license" and to do something which is at least possible (or a sane guess) and can be purchased/kitbashed in some way in N gauge.


BTW, actually I have a 110 for the West-Germany part but the 181s are much more impressive. From the timeline, it would have been possible as well as the Düm 902 generator car which replaces the missing SNCF van. But that's just my personal flavour in modelling such trains. ;)

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I now have the Marklin Orient Express 7 Car Set - the gentleman finally decided to sell me the 5 car set to go with the 2 car set he sold me previously.  It's a beautiful set and I can just sit here and admire it all night.  Now I need to get larger radius track so I can run them.



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