Chances are you’ve heard the phrase “auto transport by rail,” or some variant thereof. And chances are even higher that you’ve heard it’s cheaper to ship a car by rail than it is to ship by truck.
We’re sorry that people lied to you.
That’s not entirely fair. Auto transport by rail can be cheaper than shipping a car by truck. But it’s almost always not. There are a fair few reasons why shipping by rail is actually more difficult and more expensive than shipping by truck. So we’re going to shed some light on this particular part of the industry and let you in on some of the unknown secrets that surround it.
What is auto transport by rail?
As mentioned, auto transport by rail is simply the option to ship a car via the railroad instead of a truck. Back in the day, the railroads were a vital part of the freight-moving business. All kinds of goods were shipped on the railroads, from food to furniture to automobiles.
Over time, however, and especially after the construction of the Interstate Highway System, logistics slowly turned to over-the-road trucking instead of trains. They were cheaper, easier to maintain, and did not rely on railroad companies and their charges and fees and schedules.
Today, most freight in the United States is trucked, including cars. It’s faster and cheaper and gives more control to the driver and, in a way, to you as well. This shift has made it harder to find routes that railroad companies will move cars on as well. This means that there are few – if any – routes that an individual such as yourself can find shipping on.
Can I ship a car by rail?
You can try, but chances are it won’t happen. Rail routes for car shipping services are few and far between these days. While it may seem cost efficient to move a car along with hundreds or even thousands of tons of other freight, all at once, it’s actually not.
With rail shipping, you have to take your car to the train station, leave it, and then go to the train station at delivery and pick it up. Trucks are easier and more convenient for a lot of people. And with gas prices going higher every year, it’s still cheaper to truck freight. Many logistics companies have made the switch, and customers are having to as well.
You don’t have to pay hidden fees or charges for storage when you ship by truck. You don’t have to drop your car off and arrange transportation from the rail station – or transportation to it if you need to pick your car up.
These are just some of the reasons why shipping a car by rail is not as simple as it used to be. And now, most rail companies don’t make a profit shipping cars for individuals. Railroads are a dying part of the country; what freight they do move usually can’t be shipped cost-effectively in other ways. But cars? Those most definitely can be trucked at a low rate.
So while rail companies may ship cars in bulk, they don’t move cars for individuals anymore.
Need a quote to ship a car?
If you’re interested in vehicle shipping services let us help you! We have quality agents standing by. They can give you an accurate quote to ship your car for absolutely no cost. We can help you ship your car to or from anywhere in the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and overseas territories.
We may not be able to offer auto transport by rail services, but then again, not a lot of shippers can.
Simply give us a call any time at 800-805-5194 to speak to a live agent. If you’d prefer, you can also get a quote through your email. Simply fill out our free online quote request form and see what we can do to help you today.