Shipping a vehicle by train is not entirely unlike shipping it aboard an auto carrier, but there are a few things you need to be aware of. For one, there are size limitations when shipping by rail that may not apply when using a traditional carrier. In most cases, the width of the storage area will limit the size of the vehicle that is able to be transported by train.
Another limiting factor of shipping a car by train is that you are bound by the destinations that are accessible by train. Thanks to the existing infrastructure of train delivery in major cities throughout the U.S. and Europe, the delivery limitations are minimal in those areas.
Most train shipments of vehicles involve an intermodal container, which is used widely to deliver and distribute goods of all kind throughout the world. The advantage of these containers--and what makes them intermodal--is that they can easily be transferred from ship to train to truck bed with ease, making the entire process of transporting goods easier. As with a cargo area of compartment designed to haul a car, intermodal containers also have size limitations that must be kept in mind.
To learn more about intermodal containers and how they’re integral to the transport and logistics industries, click here.
Shipping A Car By Rail | What You Need To Know
As with having your car shipped on a truck, there are both open and enclosed options for shipping by train. As with an open air carrier on the highway, an open air shipment on a train does expose the vehicle to potential damage from extreme temperatures, bad weather, as well as dirt and debris that stick to the vehicle during shipment. It’s not as common to see an open air shipment by rail since they are not generally designed for the specific purpose of moving a vehicle. Because of this, it comes with an increased amount of risk and is not a service that we generally recommend if there are other options available.
Another consideration to keep in mind when using auto transport services by train is that delivery to a specific location is more difficult. Since the vehicle will need to be reloaded from the train to the cargo area of the truck, the process is both more time-consuming and labor intensive, which translates to more expensive.
In most cases, those who opt to have their vehicle delivered by train tend to have them shipped to a delivery terminal. These are located in most major cities across the U.S. and Europe, often in major ports and major metropolitan areas. This makes it easier to load cargo or freight from one type of transport mode to another, thus streamlining the process. If you decide to pick up your vehicle at a terminal (rather than having it shipped to your door) it can be a good method of saving some money.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.