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Booking Dacia 347 / Other trains Dec 2023 - Jan 2024

  • 7 November 2023
  • 6 replies
  • 140 views

Hello All! 

 

Looking for some help / to have my anxiety alleviated! Have purchased a Eurail for 2 people to travel across Europe. I’ve managed to book as far as Vienna, but from there, almost all trains are giving me the ‘prices unavailable’ error. This is the specific route: 

 

Vienna - Bucharest: 3rd Jan 2024

Bucharest - Istanbul: 7th Jan 2024

Istanbul - Ankara: 14th Jan 2024.

 

I’m particularly concerned about the Vienna - Bucharest leg as we’d love to get a Night train (the Dacia 347) but that requires a reservation. I’ve tried on OBB as well as the Romanian carrier’s website but both show ‘tickets not available’ or similar. 

 

I understand the December 10th schedule change makes ticket bookings open far later than normal, but most of my research (as well as the OBB website) says night trains/long distance routes should have become available by mid-October. 

 

I feel like it’s safe to assume the schedule hasn’t been released yet and to just keep checking. My question is whether anybody has had any luck booking trains for these routes, particularly the Vienna - Bucharest night train (or similar ones), or if everybody’s still experiencing the same issue.

 

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

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Best answer by ralderton 7 November 2023, 08:21

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Userlevel 7
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I think you’re correct in that the trains haven’t been released for sale yet. There’s no availability on any day past the 10th for Vienna-Bucharest. So you’re doing the right thing by keeping checking. 

When reservations open, you should be able to get then from ÖBB. Couchette in 6-berth €13.40, couchette in 4-berth €20, bed in 3-berth sleeper €28, bed in 2-berth sleeper €42.  Bed in single-berth sleeper (requires 1st class pass) €98. (Prices from Seat61)

For the Bucharest-Istanbul leg, there’s no direct train in winter. You can take local trains to Dimitrovgrad in Bulgaria, and pick up the sleeper from there. I believe the sleeper can’t be reserved online, only at a station in Bulgaria.

There’s a lot of information on this page from Seat61 about the journey, and how/ where to book the various reservations. 

https://www.seat61.com/Turkey.htm#how-to-book-using-an-interrail-pass

Key paragraph from that page:

The final reservation, Bucharest to Istanbul by summer-only direct couchette car, can be made at the station or by emailing Andy as shown here.  If going when the direct couchette car doesn't run, book from Bucharest to Ruse at the station in Bucharest, and book the sleeper from Dimitrovgrad to Istanbul when you change trains at Gorna Orjahovitsa, there's no way to book from outside Bulgaria.

Tip:  There's a minor irritation when using your Interrail pass from Bucharest or Dimitrovgrad to Istanbul.  You are of course using a direct overnight train so the Interrail night train rule applies and only one pass day (the date of departure) is used.  However, the Railplanner app incorrectly thinks it's a separate train from Kapikule to Istanbul, therefore if you add it to your pass directly from the Railplanner timetable it will trigger the use of a second pass day to cover what it thinks is a second train leaving after midnight.  The solution is to add the Bucharest or Dimitrovgrad to Istanbul train to your pass manually.

Userlevel 7
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For Istanbul-Ankara, you can’t buy the reservation online, only at the station. 

If you find that the sleepers are full, you can take the regular day trains, which take 4.5 hours. (Reservations also required, from the station, but less likely to sell out.)

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Turkey

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

For Istanbul-Ankara, you can’t buy the reservation online, only at the station. 

If you find that the sleepers are full, you can take the regular day trains, which take 4.5 hours. (Reservations also required, from the station, but less likely to sell out.)

https://www.seat61.com/interrail-and-eurail-reservations.htm#Turkey

Actually that’s not 100% true. You can book a normal ticket online through TCDD and then exchange it for a free reservation once you are in Turkey. They will refund you the money that you paid for the ticket to the creditcard (just you might loose a small amount due to exchange rates). Best to use a translator app to explain the staff in the station what you want to do.

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Actually that’s not 100% true. You can book a normal ticket online through TCDD and then exchange it for a free reservation once you are in Turkey. They will refund you the money that you paid for the ticket to the creditcard (just you might loose a small amount due to exchange rates). Best to use a translator app to explain the staff in the station what you want to do.

That’s great to know. Sounds like a useful workaround.

Userlevel 7
Badge +6

Actually that’s not 100% true. You can book a normal ticket online through TCDD and then exchange it for a free reservation once you are in Turkey. They will refund you the money that you paid for the ticket to the creditcard (just you might loose a small amount due to exchange rates). Best to use a translator app to explain the staff in the station what you want to do.

That’s great to know. Sounds like a useful workaround.

And definitely worth to do it because the trains are mostly sold out days in advance! (Istanbul-Ankara)

Userlevel 7
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Just to add, there’s some further information about the Bucharest-Istanbul journey on this page of the Seat61 website.

https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/bucharest-and-sofia-to-istanbul-by-train.htm

It doesn’t have the details about buying railpass reservations, so you should also read the page I posted previously as well. But it does have an easy to read timetable, and some more detail on the journey.

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