Shipping a car by train

CarsArrive | Cars , Auto shipping

Many people who are looking for the most budget-friendly way to transport a vehicle over a long distance eventually get curious about transporting a car by train and whether it’s a practical, convenient, and cheap solution. And at first glance, the idea to transport a car by train may seem like a cost-effective way to move a vehicle long distance. In some rare instances, it can offer a couple of advantages, but there are a number of caveats that come with this mode of auto shipping.

Because trains are relatively fuel efficient and because they can ship large numbers of vehicles at once, it’s common practice for car dealerships and other commercial companies to ship cars by train when they need to get them across the country. These entities often partner with rail lines like Union Pacific, Santa Fe, CSX and others to put large numbers of vehicles on car carriers and ship them across the country for less money than it would take using trucks. However, for customers looking to ship a single car by train, this simply isn’t a common option because virtually all rail lines in the U.S. only offer their services to commercial customers.  

The big exception here is that in rare cases, commercial rail companies can’t fill all their auto carrier cars, so they offer up the unused spaces to regular auto transporters. This is the only really feasible way that a traditional auto transport company could pick up one of these spots and use it to transport your car by train.

Amtrack Auto Train

One company that does offer auto shipping by train to the average consumer is Amtrack’s auto train, though it’s not as simple as you might think, and there are advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages are that it can be faster and cheaper than shipping a car by truck. The disadvantages? There’s only one route available anywhere in the country (Lorton, VA, to Sanford, FL), and you can’t just drop your car off – you have to buy a passenger ticket and ride the train as well. That being said, if you live near one of these two Amtrak rail hubs, you can’t beat the speed, the experience of traveling by rail, and the price.

Before you ship your vehicle, the car or cars will have to be prepared (i.e., remove valuables, perform a maintenance check, log any existing damage, etc.) for shipping and transported to the train depot or terminal they’ll be shipped from. If you live close to the rail station the car will depart from, you’re in luck, but if it’s far away, you may need to hire a transport company to get the vehicle to the train terminal.

Is shipping a car by train your best option?

In the vast majority of cases, transporting a car by train just isn’t a practical option for consumers. Fortunately, transporting a car by road carrier is a dependable and affordable way to transport a vehicle, and companies like CarsArrive Auto Relocation offer several different service packages to suit your needs and your budget, as well as options like shipping in an open or enclosed carrier.

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