AccorHotels has agreed to acquire half of the Orient Express brand from French national rail company SNCF Group, and Accor will operate hotels under the brand.

The agreement is unrelated to Belmond, which rebranded from Orient-Express in 2014 after its licensing deal with SNCF was not renewed.

Accor said the brand would represent "the very epitome of the art of travel."

SNCF has owned the Orient Express brand since 1977. SNCF maintains the seven historic 1920s-era railroad cars that made the final commercial Orient-Express trip between Paris and Istanbul in 1977. The brand achieved broad recognition with the 1974 Sidney Lumet-directed film "Murder on the Orient Express."

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