Updated Oct 10, 2022
A long-distance or cross-country move can be incredibly stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be. Moving by train can save you time, money, and the frustration of driving your belongings across the country. However, it can be overwhelming considering all the details for moving by train, since fewer people choose to move by train than a traditional moving truck.
In this article, we’re answering the most common questions about moving by train. We also provide some tips for moving by train with as little frustration as possible.
If you’re considering transporting your belongings by railroad, you likely have a lot of questions. Let’s jump into some of the most common questions about moving by train and what you need to know.
So, what does moving by train entail exactly? Here are the typical steps for moving by train:
Moving by train cross-country is faster than moving by truck or using other transport options.
In most cases, you can expect to have your belongings transported from the West Coast to the East Cost in around 7-10 days. However, this doesn’t account for any time spent packing, decluttering, selling items you no longer need, labeling, transporting the items to the train station, and picking them up and taking them to your new home in your new city.
With all these factors in mind, you will be looking at several weeks from start to finish, from packing your belongings to having them moved to your final destination cross-country.
Like moving trucks, the cost of moving your belongings by train will largely depend on the size and weight of your belongings. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a company that offers a flat fee rate. However, you definitely shouldn’t put off researching the costs of moving by train because it will still be expensive.
Fortunately, rail transport services are still more economical and use less fuel than moving by a rented vehicle or professional movers. However, you will need to consider the extra money required for renting a U-Haul or borrowing a friend’s truck to get your belongings to the train station in the first place.
Another benefit of moving by train is that trains have significantly fewer collisions than cars, so the chances of your belongings being in an accident are much slimmer.
If you don’t want to drive your car across the country, you can even ship your car via an auto train for the move. The average cost of car shipping by train will be around $500 to $600 for standard-size vehicles, meaning vehicles like trucks, cars, vans, and SUVs that have not been altered to be larger or longer than the original factory build. Keep in mind that this moving quote does not include the cost of your ticket to ride with the car, which can cost you anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the class you travel in.
How much luggage you can bring on a train depends on your ticket type and the freight service. All rail companies will have set weight limits for your luggage, which is typically set at 500 pounds.
If you’re single and moving from a small apartment or studio apartment, you may be able to get away with moving most of your belongings as your luggage. However, individuals with more belongings or families will need to break their shipments into multiple sets.
Certain items cannot be moved by train due to their size, weight, or how delicate they are. Items that can’t be moved via train will vary based on the company, but here are some of the most common exclusions:
Often, you can ship a car or bike by train, which is a significant benefit and savings compared to sending it via other means such as car transport or auto transport companies.
Yes, you can move internationally by train. Of course, there are limitations to this. You’ll only be able to move by train if you don’t need to cross water.
If you’re moving from the United States to Mexico or Canada, rail transport is a viable option that allows you to travel over the border and ship your personal items.
If you live anywhere in Europe, it’s also likely that you’ll be able to quickly move your belongings via train since Europe is so close together and interconnected.
Yes, you absolutely can move cross-country on a train. Cross-country moves are defined as any move to the other side of the country. For example, moving from the West Coast to the East Coast or from the North to the South, such as New York to Florida.
Trains will be a much more affordable option for these long-distance moves and will often be faster than a professional moving truck service. They are also a much less expensive option than moving by aircraft.
Before moving by train, use the following tips to plan out your move so that it’s as seamless as possible:
Lastly, you’ll want to consider moving insurance. Some train shipping services offer moving insurance plans. However, you may want to consider third-party moving insurance policies if you have many valuable belongings or simply want peace of mind that you’ll be covered should anything happen.
If you’re moving to a major city across the country, moving by train may be a great way to save money and have your items safely shipped. We love that moving by train is a speedy solution to move your belongings and is much more cost-effective than other alternatives.
However, you must consider how you’ll move or ship your fragile items, electronics, and pets. You may need to drive out separately to move these items yourself or rent a moving vehicle to make the drive. You’ll also need to coordinate picking up the items from the train service within 48 hours, so you are not charged a storage fee. On the day of your move, you’ll want to have a precise plan for moving your items to the train station. Don’t forget to bring a few extra boxes in case any of your boxes are too heavy, and items need to be removed.
Few of us think about moving by train, but it’s a great budget-friendly option for many. Don’t feel intimidated by shipping your belongings by train. It can be an excellent option for cross-country and long-distance moves to cities.
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