Transporting a car by train

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Comparison of train and truck deliveries of the cars

It’s not always obvious which way of the car’s transportation is better in the USA. Especially if carefully to consider all advantages and disadvantages of each particular method.

Here we will pay your attention to the most common way in previous decades – transporting cars by train - as well as to the most famous auto transportation service which is very popular nowadays.

Advantages of the train transport for cars

Let’s start with the price as this is one of the main features most car’s owners pay attention to before making a choice. You might see and hear about very attractive offers from various auto transportation carriers, but there is nothing to compare with the car transport on trains cost. It’s definitely the cheapest possible way to deliver your car from one railway station to another one. Probably, the only method that can compete with trains is driving a car by yourself but here you can meet with a great number of accompanying factors (fuel consumption, meals on the way, sometimes the necessity to make a stop in the hotel for the night plus all the miles will be put directly on your car’s mileage).

The difference between the car transported by train and by truck in the price can be indeed essential. While for auto transportation you should expect to pay around 800-1,000 USD to deliver it across the United States, here you can get a quote of 200-400 USD. It looks really incomparable, especially considering that in most cases the necessity to move a car from one state to another already implies some essential costs. In many cases, people are looking for the car’s delivery when they are moving to another house or going for a very long vacation. That is why every additional hundred of dollars can play a significant role for the budget.

The speed of transporting a car by train will also be much higher, therefore, the whole process will be more efficient and practical. When we are talking about cars, every additional day without it can significantly affect our daily life, especially for those who got used to driving a car every day on the way to the work office. Especially if compared with more traditional auto shipping where you will be required to wait about 8-10 days on average for your vehicle to be delivered. In case of trains, there are hardly a lot of routes that will take more than 2 days across the country.

Safety is also very important. Like within an auto shipping, when arranging a car transport by train you can choose an open or enclosed delivery. With an open variant your car will be just loaded on the open-frame platform together with others. It’s cheap and quite popular method, especially if we are talking about not too expensive and new cars on the board because upon arrival they will be covered by dust, insects as well as influenced by weather conditions on the way (which is a very essential part considering a great distance between states and different climate zones the train can cover). For those who prefer to provide cars transporter by train with more comfort and safety, it’s recommended to pay more for the enclosed delivery but to make sure the vehicle will be fully protected. When talking about the enclosed car transport on train, we mean a special container where your car will be placed together with some others or even separately. Every case is different and you will need to discuss the details with the rail company in advance. Sometimes, there can be some other goods transported together with a car in the same container which is a great option for those who are moving to a new location. Here we should underline one important restriction in regards to the transport car by train – it’s strongly forbidden to fill the car itself with some personal belongings and unnecessary equipment. So, if your vehicle has some adjustments or improvements, you will need to take them out before sending it by train.

But whichever option you choose, you can be sure that the vehicle will be better protected at least because the train will make just 1-2 stops on the way (or in some cases no stops at all) while the truck delivery within 8-10 days supposes at least 8-10 long stops overnight and a lot of short ones during the day. Considering some vandalism issues, trains will provide you with less stressful days of waiting.

train transporting cars


If not some important disadvantages, such a car transporter as a train would not become to be replaced by auto transportation carriers.

Flexibility in this regard is one of the most essential reasons. As we can see, trains can deliver your vehicle only from one railway station to another, and it cannot be changed. Here we have one more weakness – additional costs for the car’s transportation to and from the stations. You will need to make sure it will be delivered in time as the trains have a very strict schedule.

Despite the fact that the delivery itself can be much faster, you may need to wait for a long time until the train will take off, again because of the schedule. By the way, regardless of the higher speed, in many cases the trains are arriving to the final destination even later than trucks. The reason for that is that the railroads may have very essential and big loops on the way.

When you decide to transport a car by train, you should have into consideration one more important detail. Nowadays, not so many rail companies are dealing with the individuals, and those that do require a passenger’s ticket. Meaning you or somebody else should accompany the car in the train. This is inconvenient for two main reasons:

  • The price is getting higher as you also need to purchase a ticket for yourself. The price can be very different depending on the level of the comfort you are preferring on the way. But the minimal cost is 89 dollars (while the maximal one, for the Superliner bedroom, is already 488 dollars).  If you are planning to travel together with the family, family bedroom’s options will fit you the best;
  • Secondly, there is not always the necessity to go to the final destination as well. For example, you might want to send the car to your relatives or, for example, would prefer to arrive later).

As was mentioned above, it can be even difficult to find the rail company itself. Nowadays, with such a limited demand, it’s more profitable and convenient for them to deal with multiple cars’ delivery which normally can be requested by governmental departments or at least by auto dealers. But if you will fit the route, you can definitely try to use this very cheap and effective way of the car’s delivery. You just need to make sure the insurance is covering the train transportation and, if it’s necessary, to arrange an additional one.

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