Vehicle transport by railway

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Specific features of the rail transport for vehicles

There are a few options how exactly you can transport your personal car from one place to another, especially if we are talking about long-distance trips. Many cars’ owners usually prefer a more common auto transportation by truck which can be easily arranged by various carriers and brokers in the United States. But there is one more essential vehicle transport – rail.

Some years ago, this type of the cars’ transportation was one of the most common and popular, but because of some restrictions and possible difficulties in this regard slowly it’s being replaced by the trucks. Today you can find hundreds if not thousands of big and small transportation carriers and brokers who are ready to deliver any of your vehicles from one spot to another while it can become quite challenging to find an appropriate vehicle rail transport company which will agree to deal with you. Especially if we are talking about individuals with just one or two cars to deliver. In the modern world it’s much more convenient and profitable for such companies to work with multiple suppliers, for example, auto brokers or even governmental structures, so it can be not so easy to find a solution.

On the other hand, you should not fully ignore this possibility as the rail vehicle transport can become the fastest and cheapest method of the delivery.

Factors of the price

Most probably, you will not find any pricelist or instant quotes for the vehicle transport by rail as there are numerous factors that can essentially affect the final price of the car’s delivery. Here are just the main ones:

  1. Particular rail line and the company. Some lines can be more expensive and some of them even not available for the individual cars’ transportation. That is why even if there is a direct railroad that is connecting two exact locations you are interested in, it does not mean you will be able to apply for this delivery. All the details must be checked in advance to make sure there is no unexpected and undesirable conditions in the regards to the lines of the delivery;
  2. Distance. Of course, the longer the distance, the more you will need to pay for the railway vehicle transport. But actually, the difference within hundreds of miles is not that essential and you can expect that the transportation across the country will cost you at least double or even triple less than if you would choose a professional auto transport company with the truck delivery;
  3. Method of the delivery. Normally, you can transport your vehicle by rail in two different ways which will directly affect the price and the conditions of the delivery. The first one is an open platform where your car will be travelling alongside many others. It’s very easy to arrange and that is why the price for this method can be very attractive, especially in comparison with truck’s transportation. But here, like in case of the open delivery on a truck, your car will face all the external conditions during the way. This factor is especially important if we are talking about the routes within north states where your car can be affected by heavy snow for hours. Obviously, it can cause very serious consequences and, therefore, extra expenses for the repairing. To avoid such an unattractive scenario, you as a car’s owner can choose the second method – an enclosed delivery. In this case the car will be placed inside the fully covered container so you can be sure that its conditions and look will be exactly the same upon arrival as it was during the loading process. This method is especially popular among the owners of really expensive and valuable cars as well as in case of the transportation of the brand-new vehicle;
  4. Logistics. Obviously, the cheaper way of vehicle transport by railway is from terminal to terminal. Therefore, it will be your responsibility to deliver the car to the appropriate locations for it to be loaded and then unloaded. But this is not always easy and even possible to arrange. To make the whole process more convenient for the clients, some rail companies are dealing with auto transport carriers who can arrange the delivery of the car directly to your home. Of course, you will need to pay extra for this specific and personalized service but at least you should not worry about the time and traffic.

One more additional factor which can affect the final quote has influence within some rail companies. Thus, you cannot be allowed to transport your car via train if you are not purchasing a passenger’s ticket for yourself. Normally, the minimal cost will be up to 100 dollars. But here the main inconvenience is not even about the price itself – it’s about the necessity to spend your time to go from terminal to terminal together with your car. Across the country trips can take up to a few days, while you can much easier get there by plane within a few hours. This is actually one of the main reasons why truck delivery of the car is more attractive for the cars’ owners.

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Getting your car ready for the rail transport

If somehow you are lucky and found a rail company which agrees to deliver your car and if all the conditions of the deal are suitable for you, it’s time to prepare your car for the trip.

For more details you can always check the requirements of every particular rail carrier but here are the most common:

  • No valuable items. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it will not be allowed to keep any personal belongings or unnecessary equipment inside the vehicle while it’s being transported by train. But even if you arrange it (for example, it can be possible in case you are getting the separate container for your car and you can also fill it with some additional staff unless it exceeds the limitation), you need to make sure there are no valuable items or documents left there. There is no any coverage if this type of items will be lost;
  • Insurance. Before sending your car across the country by train, you need to make sure there is appropriate insurance for this purpose. Some rail companies can provide you with it but in most cases, you will need to check the requirements with the insurance company itself. The accidents on the railroads are not very common, but it’s always better to be protected from any serious damages;
  • Taking pictures before and after the transportation of the car has a direct link with the insurance mentioned above. Without such evidence it will be very difficult to prove that some scratches or dents appeared only after the delivery process.
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