When faced with a new move in your life, you might ask yourself, “Can I move by train?” It’s a practical question rooted in the desire to be practical and speedy.
The most common ways to move today include by truck, bus, and plane. What usually divides people is the cost, not the efficiency. Moving by train is an effective way of moving across the country, able to save you some serious time if you don’t feel like driving.
Can you move by train? How many belongings can you move? Keep reading to learn about the effectiveness of this popular moving method.
But first, check out these helpful articles.
- Best Interstate Movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews.
- How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will do the rest.
- Consider moving containers – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. These are the best moving container companies.
Can You Move Cross-Country on a Train?
The short answer to this question is a resounding yes. The long answer gets trickier when you take into account budget, timing, and personal belongings.
Let’s make sure you’re on the same page. A cross-country move is defined by moving to the other side of the country: think the West Coast to the East Coast. Sacramento to Orlando or Idaho to Florida. With so many miles in-between, you can find yourself stumped when it comes to moving options.
Trains are designed to close long distances in relatively short amounts of time. They’re also generally more affordable than aircraft. Should you move cross-country by train is a better question and one we’ll continue exploring below.
Can You Move Internationally by Train?
Believe it or not, it’s possible to move internationally by train. Whether or not this desire is viable depends on your country of origin.
Can you move by train internationally? While it’s unreasonable to move from Canada to Japan by train, there are a few options that make more sense geographically:
United States to Mexico
Are you considering moving to the sweltering deserts of Mexico? It’s just a hop skip from America’s southern border.
United States to Canada
If you’re more interested in snow and mountains, Canada is the place for you. Amtrak has a train option for travelers who want to venture north.
Nearly Anywhere Within Europe
It’s no secret that Europe is small and close-knit. You can hop from Spain to France to Germany in the span of a day if you feel like it!
Moving Companies to Help You Move by Train
Long-distance moving companies are ready and waiting to provide you with flexible moving options. The train is a much-beloved resource for cross-country moves within or near the United States.
Do you also need car shipping? Are you more of a DIY type of mover? If you’re thinking of another option alongside moving by train, you should consider the following.
Let’s take a look at today’s long-distance moving companies and what services they provide.
American Van Lines
89% of users select this mover
This moving service was established in the 90’s, eventually expanding into a de facto moving service in all states. American Van Lines provides a wealth of useful services that take the sting out of moving day.
Expect to enjoy a range of benefits such as loading, unloading, packing, unpacking, and professional driving. They also offer storage options and assembly upon arrival. American Van Lines is cost-effective and uses less fuel, regularly topping favorite lists: we’re no different.
89% of users select this mover
Do you ever wonder how customizable you can get with your move? U-Pack is the answer to your problems, providing a moving container service at a very attractive cost.
Simply put, U-Pack provides a moving container straight to your home that you can fill with all your belongings. This moving container also doubles as a storage space you can use for three months. The downside? You have to do all the packing, moving, and assembly yourself.
New movers might be intimidated by U-Pack, while experienced DIY movers will find their services a breeze.
Shipping a Car by Train
Some shipping companies use rail services to transport cars. The process is fairly straightforward: the car is loaded onto a train where it is then transported as cargo. This method takes longer than working with professional car shippers, but in some cases shipping costs may be more affordable.
One downside of shipping a car by train is that the service area is extremely limited. The East Coast of the US has a better rail transportation system, making this option really only realistic for a small portion of movers. For example, Amtrak’s Auto Train only offers car rail shipping from Lorton, Virginia (near Washington D.C.) to Sanford, Florida (near Orlando).
Unless you happen to be moving to one of these locations, a better shipping option would be to work with a professional car transport company. Some offer enclosed transport to the final destination while others are on open car carriers. Check out our list of the best auto transport companies or moving companies that move cars and furniture if you need to bring your vehicle with you.
How Long Does it Take to Move by Train?
Cross-country moves by train are faster than by truck. The time frame to go from the West Coast to the East Coast takes about seven to ten days.
However, the actual length of your move will be longer once you include details such as:
- Selling unwanted items
Taking all of the above features into account, you should take at least three to five weeks to plan out the course of your move by rail car.
How Much Does it Cost to Move Belongings by Train?
The cost of moving belongings by train depends on size and weight. Some services, such as Amtrak, offer a flat fee rate. Budgeting is one area you shouldn’t do at the last second.
Amtrak charges $67 for every one hundred pounds, with each extra pound costing $0.57. As an example, a four hundred pound move will cost around $240.
Auto shipping companies charge rates based on various per mile rates. On average, you can expect to pay $2.00+ per mile for trips less than 200 miles. if you’re going over 1,500 miles, the price decreases to around $0.60 per mile.
How Much Luggage Can You Bring on a Train?
A hard figure isn’t possible for this question, but you can estimate your items based on weight. All trains will have weight limits for your luggage, with most breaking up shipments heavier than five hundred pounds.
A studio apartment or one-bedroom apartment might be able to move all their belongings in one go. A two-bedroom or three-bedroom apartment will have to break up the journey into a few extra shipments.
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How to Move Using Amtrak?
Note: As of 5/9: Amtrak has suspended its shipping services indefinitely. So for this reason, we can no longer recommend using Amtrak for long-distance moving. However, we’ve kept the information below available for your reference should they bring back these services.
When you think of trains, you likely think of Amtrak. This legendary train system has been around since the 70’s, providing countless businesses and individuals with cross-country transportation.
Find Another Way to Move Electronics
Sadly, Amtrak will not move electronics due to their price and safety hazard. Common electronics you should find another way of shipping include:
- Home computer
- Game consoles
Find Another Way to Move Fragile Items
Yes, there are even more items you can’t move with this service! Amtrak also won’t let you ship dishware, antiques, or fragile paintings.
Narrow Down Your Boxes to 3ft x 3ft x 3ft or Smaller
There is a size and weight limit when using Amtrak services. Make sure your moving boxes are in the 3ft x 3ft x 3ft range.
Wrap, Label, and Pack Your Items
Every box must have your name, new address, and phone number. Failing to label your belongings properly will make it difficult to locate lost or damaged items.
Figure Out Your Insurance Budget
Moving insurance is a useful resource to help you in the event of lost or damaged items. Transport services generally offer flexible moving insurance plans to match your budget.
Released value protection is a basic form of coverage that can give you some financial reimbursement. On the other hand, full-value protection is a good option for expensive furniture or hard-to-replace items. Think carefully about which one will suit you best.
Get a Dolly or a Vehicle to Transport Your Items to the Train
This part is the least enjoyable aspect of the process, but the final step in your journey. You should rent a dolly and/or a truck to move your items to the train station.
Make sure to call Amtrak beforehand to know where to drop off your items. They’ll also recommend you take photos of your boxes, particularly with your tags and labels showing. Upon arrival at your destination, they’ll provide you with a time and date to pick up your belongings.
Moving By Train: A Summary
Can you move by train? If you’re thinking of moving on a tight budget to major cities across the country, this is the option for you.
Moving by train is a cost-effective, speedy, and simple way of moving your belongings. Amtrak is the go-to option for many for its reliable service and great cost. Alongside train moving, we also recommend American Van Lines or U-Pack.
Unfortunately, you can’t move electronics or fragile items with a train system. It’s also important you properly label and pack your items before moving them by train, as there’s always the possibility of lost or stolen belongings. Keep in mind you need to move your personal items to a pick-up point so moving professionals can load and ship them.
It can be a little intimidating to move by train due to its more hands-off nature. However, your wallet will thank you later!
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