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I will soon ride towards Bucharest from Austria using the Dacia Express train, on Vienna to Bucharest route.

The usual expert sources (seat61) deliver valuable info; anyway, I still have doubts on the following points:

The trip is pretty long as the train leaves around 7pm and arrives at 3pm the next day. So far, I could understand that a cafe car is attached to the train for the Romanian portion of the trip. Are international credit cards or cash in Euros accepted? This can be useful to know if going to the currency exchange office beforehand is needed.

Do the sleeping cars have showers at car ends? I booked a regular bed in a 3-berth room, unlike deluxe compartments which have en-suite bathrooms. Using the ÖBB booking system, I only had choice between 3-person and single occupancy, with no mention of standard/deluxe or 2-person possibilities as it is usual in sleeping cars.

Lastly: the train crosses two borders. I heard stories, that happened a few years ago, of passengers waking up at odd hours as requested by armed officers for passport checks. Is it still the case today?

Thanks!

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Regarding the border: yes, there are two border checks at the Hungarian-Romanian border, which take place at night. First, at Lökösháza, Hungarian police come onboard and check/stamp passports/IDs, then at Curtici the same is done by Romanian police.

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Back from the trip, then... here are the facts!

We actually had the border checks at respectively 3am (Hungary) and 4am(Romania). Customs officials were rather professionally behaved even if these were odd hours!

I did not check the presence of a dining car as I bought food beforehand. But, getting of to stretch my legs at Brasov, I had seen a "Bar-Bistro" on the train.

The sleeping car cabins are pretty nice. Pillows are quite big, much bigger than the Austrian ones from ÖBB Nightjets! The sleeping car used is a Romanian "vagon de dormit". The car had a shower in the communal bathroom but it missed a showerhead and no water was coming out. Attendant told me that it was due to some things that broke down and were not fixed. A funny thing, the double doors that are located at the end of the car and typically communicate with the next car, or, in this case, are the extremity of the train, were tied together through their handles using zip-ties!

The window blind was not blocking light, It was more resembling a sun shade like those found on daytime trains.

The cabin next to mine, a 2-bed room with en-suite shower, was not sold. I could open it at the end of the trip and bedding was untouched. It was not offered on the AUstrian railways system, though. Seems odd.

The car was a bit worn and refubished with bright LED lights everywhere, of that cold white light. Some of the fixtures seemed a bit DIYed, especially the night light next to the bed; my was not working. Same goes for the electrical outlets.

Actually, it if was not for the hammer-banging during the 10pm stop at Budapest and the customs stop, the experience was pretty nice. Beds were really comfortable; I could sleep late and still enjoy it.

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    Do you mean that border checks were at 3AM and 4AM (not PM)? – RedBaron Oct 9 '18 at 4:28
  • Yes, those happened in the middle of the night. The train rolls through three countries, actually. Austria to Hungary is crossed around 8pm (no checks, it's Schengen area) Hungary to Romania is crossed around 3am, and goes one notch to 4am as the timezone changes. There are checks on both sides of the border, and a shord 20-30-minute-ish ride in between. – DavGin Mar 5 at 15:06
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The sleeping cars do not have showers, they only have a wc (which is dirty most of the time). Don’t expect any cooked food in the food wagon, they usually have chips and sandwiches, water, juice and coffee. You could use plane from Timisoara to Bucharest to shorten the travel time. Ticket price for airplane is almost the same as the one for train.

  • Actually the toilet remained clean (at my surprise!) throughout the trip, although it is not restocked en-route. Out of rolls during the last hours, and the attendant who switched off the car lights using the switch box did forget a bit that bathroom lights also were affected! – DavGin Oct 26 '18 at 7:41

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