Transport a vehicle by train

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Pros and cons of the train transport for vehicles

Cars’ transportation across the United States is not always a very easy and fast process to arrange. In many cases, before making a final decision you as a car’s owner will need to consider various options. Especially if the budget is pretty much limited (frankly speaking, in the overwhelming majority of cases this is an issue). That is why you should not fully ignore the possibility of vehicle transport by train.

Of course, today this method of the delivery is not that popular and common as, let’s say, 20-30 years ago when many rail companies were ready to deal with individual orders for the cars’ transportation. Today the situation is pretty different, but if you are looking for the cheapest way to deliver your car from one point to another and if the restrictions of this method is not affecting you too much, train vehicle transport can become a great opportunity to cut the costs significantly.


Basically, this is the most attractive feature of transporting vehicles by train. Most probably, even if you will decide to drive the car by yourself it still will not be that affordable like in this case.

So, basically the cost of the vehicle transport train itself can take around 200-300 dollars if we are talking about a very basic delivery type. Thus, like in the auto transport companies, in rail companies you may face two main method of the car’s delivery which can significantly affect the quote:

  • Open transport in this case is an open-framed platform where your car will be placed together with many others. Of course, here you should not expect your vehicle to be delivered in the perfect conditions. There are no damages and breakages to expect but you need to be ready to get your car at final destinations covered by dust and dirt as all the external conditions on the way will affect the surface. Especially if we are talking about a long, interstate trip;
  • Containers are a great example of the enclosed transport vehicle on train. But the details must be checked in advance as there are several options your car can be transported in the enclosed method with a vehicle train transport. The perfect way is to have a separate container, as in this case you can also arrange to transport some personal belongings together with your car (otherwise, normally it’s forbidden to place any parcels and packages inside the car when transporting vehicle by train). Another possible variant is that your car will be in the shared container which is cheaper but will not provide you with that much flexibility and personalized service of the delivery.

One more important thing that directly affects the final price of the vehicle transport in train is the necessity to purchase a passenger’s ticket, at least in the majority of cases. The price of the ticket itself is not that high, at least if we are talking about the cheapest coach seat of 89 dollars only. But for those who expect to get a full range of comfortable services on the way the price can be raised up to 488 dollars for the superliner bedroom.

It’s interesting that even to consider the most expensive variant of the passenger’s ticket, the total price will still be lower than in case of the most traditional transportation with the truck within the professional auto transport company. At least if we are talking about the average quotes.


There is no need to explain and to prove that the speed of the train can be much higher than that of the truck. That is why when you decide to transport vehicles by train, you can expect them to be delivered within just a couple of days even if we are talking about the across-the-country routes. If compared with the traditional transportation carriers, they will be able to arrange the delivery only within 10-14 days.

But it’s not always like this. In comparison with the ordinary roads, railroads have much less flexibility, and most probably the train itself will not move only from point A to point B and will have a great number of the stops on the way. This will lead to, firstly, delay because of the estimated waiting time during the stops, and secondly, because the train may need to make great loops according to the schedule. That is why this case should be carefully considered and checked with the rail company before making an agreement.

 Shipping a Car by Train

Difficulties you may face

Most probably, if you discussed the delivery of your car to another part of the country with friends or colleagues, they would offer you a professional auto shipping service. Today you can easily find a great number of the carriers and brokers to arrange the transportation as soon as possible and in the most efficient way. And likely you will meet the advice to transport a vehicle by train.

The reason for that is because not many people have ever heard of the rail companies which are dealing with the individuals’ vehicles. Normally, these companies already have their own base of the clients or, what is even more common, they decided to deal only with the governmental and commercial deliveries. It definitely makes it very challenging and hard to find the rail company which will be ready to transport your vehicle by train.

Another essential disadvantage of this method in comparison with others is the logistics. You will need to make sure the car will be delivered in time to the railway station as well as it will be unloaded from the carriage wagon upon the delivery. Of course, considering the necessity of travelling together with the car, most probably it will be your direct responsibility to drive the car to and from the railway stations. Actually, this can be pretty stressful, especially in case of traffic, as no train will be waiting for your single car even if the seat and the tickets already paid off.

Limited routes are definitely one of the most important and essential problems in regards to the transport of vehicle by train. Firstly, there are not so many stations at all, even if you consider the whole United States’ map. Secondly, even if there is a railway station nearby, you cannot be sure that you will be allowed to load or unload your vehicle there. In most cases, you will need to drive your car to a very specific rail station where you will be allowed to arrange the loading process. It’s not surprising that more and more cars’ owners prefer to pay more but to get a more convenient and personalized transportation service with various auto shipping companies.

Therefore, before making a final choice of the way of the transportation of your car, you need to consider a couple of main questions:

  • If it’s fast. There are so many expedited and express methods of the delivery via trucks that in many cases the train will even not be able to meet the requirements and participate in the competition;
  • If it’s nearby. The location of the railway stations you will need to drive your car to and from can significantly affect the total price of the deal. Basically, it’s one of the most common and typical mistakes of the cars’ owners when they are choosing a train transportation of the vehicles as they don’t count the fuel consumption and other expenses caused by the necessity to drive the car within the rail stations;
  • If you are interested in travelling. From some point it may look very convenient to travel together with your car as soon as you are willing to get the final destination. But there are so many cases when travelling is not necessary or even undesirable. For example, many people nowadays prefer to travel by plane which is much faster, convenient and does not cost too much. Also, you may want to just send a car to the relatives or friends and the necessity to purchase the passenger’s ticket will be totally out of your plan.

Car’s transportation can be more difficult than you might expect. And, of course, the auto transportation with the truck nowadays is a more common and popular decision. But if the train option is fitting you, you can easily save up to 500 dollars for the whole process. That is why you should not ignore this way of the car’s transportation. Maybe, there is just one seat left and the rail company will provide you with the most attractive conditions you could not even dream about. By the way, nowadays the most popular rail company among the individual car’s owners that is ready to transport the vehicles is Amtrak.

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