Rail auto transport

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Main factors of the rail car auto transport

Car’s transportation across the United States can become pretty challenging, especially if you as a car’s owner have a very poor understanding of the process. To make a conscious choice of the most appropriate method, you should consider different options and not only the first you will find in Google.

Here we will consider it not so common and popular (at least, in modern reality) but still a viable method of auto transport – by rail.


In comparison with the overwhelming majority of the traditional auto shipping transportation companies, the price of an auto rail transport looks much more attractive and can save you up to 500 dollars.

Of course, there are a lot of factors that influence this price:

  • The particular line you need for your auto transport rail. Some routes are more expensive than others even if the distance itself is pretty much the same. Moreover, some of the lines are not available for the private cars’ transportation at all, so first of all you need to check this availability before making a choice;
  • The distance. You should remember that any rail auto transport service includes the delivery from one railway station to another, so in this case we are talking about between-stations routes. To compare the price of the rail delivery with, for example, truck delivery you also need to take into account the cost of the fuel and other accompanying expenses to deliver your car to and from these stations. If you are located in a very remote area, this additional sum can significantly affect the final price even if the cost of the railroad auto transport itself is pretty low;
  • The method of the delivery. If you are interested in making auto transport by rail cost as low as possible, you need to pay attention to open transportation. In this case, the car will be placed onto an open wagon aside with others. Therefore, your car may be affected by different weather conditions like rain and snow if the way aside with some dust, insects and other factors. This is not a great idea for the owners of the most expensive and valuable cars – for them it’s recommended to choose a more expensive but more safe enclosed method of the car’s delivery. Here the vehicle is being placed into the special container which will protect it from all the sides. Different rail companies have specific options in this case and before signing a contract you need to confirm if there is a separate or shared container included in the quote;
  • Particular stations. Even if there is a railway station nearby it doesn’t mean that you will be allowed to use it for loading your car. The number of stations you can use for this purpose is pretty limited, so this should be the first question to ask when applying for the service of the auto transport by rail company.

Important preparations


When all the details in regards to the car’s transportation by train are figured out, you need to make sure your car is ready. You always can check the particular requirement with the carrier itself, but typically the list of these requirements includes the following aspects:

  • No valuable items. While you still have an option to move some personal belongings in the boxes and packages together with your car, you should not leave there any valuable documents and items as there is no guarantee for them. You need to understand that on the way the train can make some stops, and especially if you are moving your car with an open method, it can be pretty risky;
  • Car’s condition. Considering the fact that you (or another responsible person) will need to drive the car from the railway station to the final destination, the battery and tires should be in working condition. It’s always better to make a full inspection of the car before such a trip to make sure you will not face some unnecessary problems upon its delivery;
  • Taking pictures before sending your car is one of the main points regardless of the method of transportation. You need to make sure all the surfaces are covered with these pictures so in case of any new scratches and dents upon delivery you will be able to use the insurance coverage. By the way, the insurance itself is a very important point of the contract you are going to sign – you need to carefully go through all the cases it covers and, in case you are not satisfied with the conditions, you can always purchase an additional insurance on the side.

Extra information

There are some reasons why the rail transportation of the cars for individuals is getting less and less popular among the owners. One of the most important disadvantages you may face is the necessity to purchase a passenger’s ticket. It’s not always convenient to travel together with your car, and in many cases even if the owner needs to get to the same destination as the car, he or she can prefer to use a more convenient way of travelling – by plane. Especially considering that train trips can take around 24 hours.

Also, trains obviously have less flexibility in regards to the schedule. You may need to wait for a couple of weeks unless a particular train will go in your particular direction. That is why, when you are going to use a train as a method of the car’s transportation, it's always better to check the option in advance to make sure you booked the most convenient date for the delivery. In regards to the schedule it also should be mentioned that in many cases trains are not going directly from point A to point B and may have a lot of additional stops on the way. In some cases, it can be even faster to use a truck delivery than trains as your car will be delivered faster.

Train transportation of the car can be both beneficial and problematic, depending on the particular circumstances. But definitely this method of the delivery should be considered aside with the more modern truck transportation as it can save you an essential sum of money.

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