Moving cars-auto transport by train dos and donts

A comparison of car shipping by train and truck.A comparison of car shipping by train and truck.

If you’re moving, you may need to transport your vehicle to your new destination. If driving isn’t feasible, you might consider shipping your car by train. This method is efficient, but currently, the Amtrak Auto Train is the only option available, running between Washington, DC, and Orlando, FL. Here’s what you need to know about the process, including its advantages, disadvantages, costs, and a step-by-step guide.

Can I Ship a Car by Train? The Amtrak Auto Train is the sole train service in the US that transports cars, traveling along the East Coast between Washington, DC, and Orlando, FL. Customers can book tickets and have their vehicles loaded onto shipping cars. The train offers coach seats, rooms, and suites for passengers to enjoy the 17-hour journey.

How Car Shipping by Train Works Shipping a car by train involves purchasing tickets for all travelers and paying an additional fee to transport the vehicle. You’ll drive to the Amtrak Auto Train station in Lorton, Virginia, or Sanford, Florida, depending on your starting point. Amtrak allows customers to load their vehicles with belongings as long as visibility through the front and back windows is maintained.

How to Purchase a Passenger Ticket Booking a ticket is straightforward via the Amtrak website. Select “Auto Train,” ensure the correct departure and destination stations, and choose the number of travelers based on age categories. After selecting your travel dates, you’ll receive pricing options for coach and private rooms.

Pros and Cons of Shipping a Car by Train Pros:

  • No driving required, avoiding traffic and roadwork.
  • Ability to pack your vehicle with belongings.
  • Potential cost savings compared to airfare and rental cars.
  • Free continental breakfast with coach tickets.


  • The Auto Train is primarily a passenger train, so vehicles must be accompanied.
  • Limited to travel between Washington, DC, and Orlando, FL.
  • Not practical for international travel.

Car Shipping by Train vs. Truck Truck shipping offers more flexibility and nationwide delivery, whereas train shipping is limited to specific routes. If you don’t need to accompany your vehicle, truck shipping may be a better option.

What to Do Before Shipping Your Car by Train Prepare your vehicle by filling the gas tank and cleaning the interior and exterior. Remove any external decorations and personal items.

Alternatives to Shipping a Car by Train Other methods include truck-driven transporters for domestic shipping and planes or boats for international transport. Trucks offer door-to-door service, while planes are fast but expensive, and boats are more affordable for overseas transport.


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