Why should I consider car shipping by train?
Trains use less fuel than semi trucks for the amount of goods moved making train transport a greener and often cheaper option than shipping a vehicle using regular truck freight.
Cars shipped by train can be delivered to your home, or left for pickup at the terminal. In most cities getting between the airport and the train terminal to pick up your car is easier than traveling to your home directly by public transit.
How does car train transport work?
Automobiles are shipped on “auto train” cars that resemble trailers used by semis. These can be covered or uncovered. Arrangements will need to be made at least a week in advance. Services can be door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal; the time your vehicle can be stored at the terminal will vary between car shipping companies.
Canadian and U.S. safety regulations require that all personal items must be removed from open areas of the vehicle. It is generally OK to store items in a locked trunk, but there may be some restrictions depending on the carrier. Tools should pose no problem, but oil, antifreeze, and other chemicals commonly stored in the trunk may not be allowed.
How much will it cost?
This can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. Some carriers charge by weight while others have a flat rate for any vehicle that isn’t over a specific size. Oversize vehicles will have additional charges for both weight and size-based transit: often full-size SUVs will just break the height limit if a roof rack is installed. Getting your vehicle on a covered car instead of an open one may cost an extra hundred dollars or an extra thousand depending on the carrier. Expect to spend a minimum of $800 for a one-way coast-to-coast uncovered vehicle shipment.
How long will it take?
Shipping a car between adjoining states will take at least three days while shipping a car across country could take as long as two weeks. Like parcel shipping, most auto transport companies will have a way to track your vehicle and should notify you if there are any delays. Door-to-door shipping will be handled by a truck between the delivery points and terminals. This will increase shipping times by a day or more over terminal pick-up.
Can I transport my car by train while on vacation?
Arranging a car to be moved on a reasonable schedule to and from a location can be difficult using regular rail carriers. However, Amtrak has an Auto Train service designed to allow travelers to ride with their car. This service is only available on one route running between Lorten, VA, just outside Washington DC, and Sanford, FL, about thirty miles from Orlando. You must travel with your car on the train. The trip takes about eighteen hours each way at a cost of $750-$1,400 for a round trip depending on the date of travel and accommodations.