As James Bond, Darko Kerim and Tatiana Romanova continue their passage aboard the Orient Express in From Russia With Love, they pass through these two stations.

The names of both stations are spelled differently than how Fleming wrote them. Pythion station marks the border between Turkey and Greece and is the only rail connection between the two countries. The station sits in Greece. Alexandroupolis (or Alexandroupoli) station is about 70 miles south (109km) south, following the Greek/Turkish border fairly closely.

Chapter 23 opens with

Hot coffee from the meagre little buffet at Pithion, (there would be no restaurant car until midday), a painless visit from the Greek customs and passport control,  and then the berths were folded away as the train hurried south towards the Gulf of Enez at the head of the Aegean.

Even today, the little Pythion station offers a small buffet of food items.

The station is similar in appearance to the Uzunköprü station and to the Alexandroupolis station (further below).

pithion pithion2

Pythion Station in 1950, as photographed by Jack Birns.
Pythion Station in 1950, as photographed by Jack Birns.

The Alexandroupolis station is described thusly:

They were still arguing when the train ground to a halt in the sun-baked, fly-swarming station of Alexandropolis. Bond opened the door into the corridor and the sun poured in across a pale mirrored sea that married, almost without horizon into a sky the colour of the Greek flag.

The threesome has lunch in the restaurant car and see the enemy agent, out on the platform, buying sandwiches and beer from a buffet on wheels.

Alexandroupolis station in the 1940's. The large trees in front are still there.
Alexandroupolis station in the 1940’s. The large trees in front are still there.

It’s fun to see so many places described by Ian Fleming in his novels still standing today and looking very much like when he (and James Bond) saw them.

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