Preparing To Ship A Car

Can you ship a car by train across country?

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cars being shipped by train


Interested in shipping a car by train? You’re in luck. Executive Auto Shippers has the ability to ship a car by rail. Although the majority of our cross country car shipments are performed via a car carrier truck, we have shipped cars by train as well. Before you make the decision to ship a car by train, be sure to check out all of the details.

Ship A Car By Train – How It’s Commonly Done

While there are times that shipping a car by train across country might make sense for a consumer, the majority of cars shipped by rail are not privately owned vehicles. I’m sure you have all seen the train cars filled with new vehicles heading across country. This is by far the most common type of car shipment by train. For vehicle manufacturers shipping cars on trains just makes sense. Since vehicle manufacturers ship cars by rail on a daily basis, they have access to a nearby rail station and in most cases even have a rail station at their facility. Even for new vehicle manufacturers shipping a car by train is not a direct shipping method. Typically the train shipments will go to a regional hub where car transport trucks can load the vehicles to deliver them to their final destination.

Shipping A Car By Train – The Drawbacks

  • Trains have a set route. Not only are you limited to where the train tracks run, but actually certain railways. Not all railways ship privately owned vehicles and not all regional hubs can load or unload cars. What that means to you is that unless you happen to be very close to the regional railway hubs, a car carrier will still need to be involved at the origin, the destination, or maybe even on both ends. Using a car carrier to pick up and/or deliver will add fees to the total cost of shipping your car by train. In most cases, this will make the total cost of shipping your car more then if you shipped via truck for the entire shipment.
  • Shipping a car by train takes longer. Yes, it is true that trains typically have a more direct route and stop less than a truck traveling down the interstate. However, train cars generally are shipped from one regional hub to another, switching trains as they move across country. This in conjunction with the extra time taken up by switching from a truck at the origin and destination usually add up to a longer transit time.
  • No personal items when shipping a car by train. There are some exceptions to this rule, namely the “Auto Train”. On most routes though, if you ship a car by train you will not be allowed to pack any personal items inside of your vehicle. In comparison generally, you may ship up to 100lbs of personal items inside of your vehicle when shipping by truck.

As you can see, shipping your car across country on a truck generally makes more sense than shipping a car by train. There is always an exception to the rules though, right?

Amtrak Shipping – The Auto Train

Depending on your exact situation, the Amtrak auto train may be as convenient as shipping your car on a truck. Again, this will depend on the route of your shipment and your actual location at the origin and destination. The Amtrak auto train only operates on one rail line between Lorton VA and Sanford FL. So if you are close to these areas or willing to drive a bit, then this service might work for you. Keep in mind that you must travel with your car, so if you are not planning on making the trip, you will not be able to ship your car by train this way.

So rather than asking “Can I ship a car by train?”

Maybe you should be asking “Should I ship a car by train?”

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