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How Much Does It Cost to Ship Your Car by Train?

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Moving cross country and don't feel like driving? You can have the best of both worlds by shipping your vehicle via rail while you sit back and dream about the new life you are about to begin. Though there are several ways to transport your car, carrying it by train is a convenient way to consider since it enables you to travel alongside your vehicle. This luxury not only offers you the chance to rest, but it also gives your ride a rest from all the extra mileage it would have incurred had you driven it or had it transported by a driving service. This guide will give you the pricing and the types of services that trains have to offer. 

Types of services 

Rail service is just one of a few ways to ship your car in the United States or another country. Though it was more popular in the past to transport your car by truck, now it is trendy to think of the future and go green by using trains that cause far less pollution. The only time you cannot use a rail service is when you are shipping a car overseas. When that is the case, you must have your car transported by means of a ship or a plane. The three most popular rail services available for shipping in the United States are as follows:

  • Amtrak's Auto Train Service - The famous train Amtrak has its own private rail service reserved just for automobiles and owners. Auto Train travels straight through to the Sunshine State, departing from Lorton, Virginia and arriving in Sanford, Florida. The 855-mile journey via rail replaces driving down I-95, one of the most highly traveled roadways on the East Coast. Saving time, gas and car mileage, many choose to use this rail service from the northeast to southeast and back again when moving along the Atlantic. With coach seats or private bedroom accommodations, the rail service that offers free meals is a great start to any relocation.


  • Auto Transport by Rail - Is another popular rail service many choose. This service is set apart by its door-to-door service, which picks up the car at your origin and loads it on a truck, transports it by train, loads it on a truck again and drops it off at your destination doorstop. Not one mile is driven or a gallon of gas used during this rail service that travels nationwide. Unlike Amtrak, this particular service transports cars via train across the country as well as north to south. It also travels up and down the West Coast where Amtrak's Auto Train only travels the East Coast.


  • Autolog Vehicle Transport - Like Auto Transport, this rail service also offers door-to-door service and travels all around the country with no restrictions. Almost 100 shipping terminals are located all across the United States with the headquarters in Linden, New Jersey. Like the later company, this rail service caters to seasonal travelers, families relocating, automobile auctioneers and new and used car dealers.


  • Enclosed or Open-air trailer - When using a train service, you may the option of having your car placed in an enclosed or open-air trailer. However, depending on the rail service you will need to know if would like your car to be exposed to the natural elements or not. Paying a little more for an enclosed container could save you money in the end since your vehicle will not be subject to weather or debris damage that could occur if it is in open-air.

When it comes down to it, vehicle shipping may be the way to go when relocating; however, there are pros and cons to auto transport that must be considered before you make your final decision. Ask auto movers questions to assure you are fully aware of the process in which your car will travel by, and take care of all personal responsibilities when shipping your vehicle to better prepare the vehicle for transport. Rather than take the ride of your life, consider giving your car the ride of its life!


  • Coast to coast transport for a  four-door sedan runs $600-$1,000. The cheaper end of the scale represents shipping during the winter months, the higher end during peak summer periods.
  • Moving a small van, pick up or SUV costs about $800-$1,070 from California to New York. The larger versions of these vehicles run $900-$1,170. The same summer price hikes apply.
  • Auto movers charge $650-$850 to transport sedans between New York and Florida. SUVs, vans and pickups run $800-$1,000; large SUVs and vans run $900-$1,100.
  • Transporting a car between Hawaii and the west coast runs $800-$1,360.
  • Car shipping between Seattle, Washington, and Juneau, Alaska costs about $1,010, which includes a fuel surcharge of 15%. The cost is slightly less if the mover drives the car onto the deck.

Tip: Prepare your car for the move by cleaning it thoroughly in and out and removing any loose items that might move around during shipment and cause damage, then take photographs to document the condition of the vehicle.


Additional Costs 

  • During peak summer months, it costs $200-$300 more to ship a vehicle across the country than during winter months.
  • Exotic or classic cars - often higher end or specialty models on the way to car shows -- may be loaded by full lift gates into closed containers and cost $800-$3,000 extra.
  • Terminals are the centers where cars are loaded for transport. Car owners not living near a terminal will pay extra to have the car sent to an embarkation point -- like the Seattle, Washington terminal serving Alaskan deliveries.
  • Land shipments have additional options. For example, a car being shipped to New York City may actually land in a terminal in New Jersey where it may be picked up by the owner. Transport to New York City may cost around $180 extra. Ask the auto shipper for terminal locations and pickup and delivery costs.
  • If the car is not in working order, a fee will be charged to handle any loading difficulties.


  • Some auto movers offer a discount if more than one car is shipped to the same destination.
  • A terminal-to-terminal discount is available through some shippers. The owner drives the car to the loading dock and picks it up at the destination point.
  • Military/ veterans are offered discounts 
  • Students and Senior citizens are offered discounts 

Tip: Make sure the gas tank is no more than one-quarter full to decrease the weight of the vehicle.

Type of car  From  Destination Cost 
Ford F-150 New York Los Angeles $1,200-$1,300
Chevy Malibu Indianapolis  Los Angeles  $800-$1,000
Sedan  New York  Florida  $650-$850
Small van, truck or SUV  California  New York  $800-$1,00




Staff Writer  Posted by Staff Writer on June 6, 2013

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