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Can You Ship Your Car by Train?

Shipping a Car by Train

Yes, you can ship a car by train. While at first, auto shipping by rail was used for cross country car shipping, more and more vehicle shipping companies are getting into the car transport by rail industry.

The question then becomes is that the best form of transportation for your vehicle shipment? It’s often more cost-effective than other options, however you still need to get your car to the train station and pick it up from it’s delivery location. Keep in mind, if you’re in a hurry or shipping one car, you should consider car shipping by truck. Transport by rail can take two weeks or more depending on the distance, and many rail transport companies require multiple cars.

Cost of Shipping a Car by Train

The average cost to ship a car via car carrier or truck, is $2.92 per mile to ship a car less than 200 miles, but costs $0.78 per mile to ship a car 1,000 miles or more. Shipping a car by rail may be a bit cheaper per car because they require multiple cars to be shipped and the relative amount of fuel used by trains is much less per car.

Cost can also be affected by the services you prefer. When shipping a vehicle by train, you have the option of open transport and enclosed transport. Open transport is a cheaper option than enclosed transport. Rail carriers often have insurance for their cargo by law, so either open or enclosed transport are a viable option, even with a risk of damage with open transport. Keep in mind the additional time it could take to get your vehicle fixed from weather damage, like hail, in the event you use open transport.

Distance is another element that can affect the cost of shipping a car by train based on fueling the train. If you’re moving your car from California to Washington, that will cost less than shipping your car by rail from California to New York.

Door to door car shipping by train can cost more than terminal to terminal. Terminal to terminal shipping can be completed by rail alone, however many people prefer door to door transport. Direct door to door transport can be managed by shipping a car by truck. You can achieve door to door transport by rail, but it will take organization of vehicle transport from pick up to train depot 1 and from train depot 2 to delivery location.

Preparing Your Car for Shipping by Rail

First, follow this guide on preparing your car for shipping. There are a few additional things to do when shipping by rail. The car or cars will have to be transported to the train depot or terminal they’ll be shipped from. If you’re close to the rail station, it could be easy to get the vehicle to the rail depot, however if it’s far away, you may need a local car hauler to get the vehicle to the train terminal.

A big question when shipping a car by rail is “Can you put stuff in your car or trunk when you ship it?” There are a few guidelines to go by, but overall, it’s most important to check with the transport service to note weight limitations, and their advice on having your personal items above the window lines.