Amtrack Car Transport Information

January 27, 2012

If you're looking to move a vehicle cross-country along the East coast, Amtrak Car Transport may be your best option. There are a number of reasons to use car shipping by train. You may want to have your car with you if you're on an extended vacation stay and want your car with you, or you may be moving and have multiple cars to transport.

According to Amtrak, the Auto Train is Amtrak's only nonstop train service. It runs from the Washington, DC area and Orlando, Florida area. Whatever the reason may be, an auto shipping train is very affordable and practical. Amtrak has certain requirements for specific vehicles. Let's explore three general areas:

Car Requirements

The following requirements must be met in order for a car to be transported:

  • It must not exceed a 65-inch height requirement. At no time can the top exceed the 65-inch maximum.
  • It must have at least 4 inches in ground clearance.

SUV/Van/Truck Requirements

The following are the requirements for such vehicles defined as an SUV, Truck or Van. One main requirement is height; these vehicles cannot exceed 88 inches in height. It is best to let Amtrak know that you would like to transport a larger vehicle, so a reservation will be needed.

Two-Wheel Vehicle Requirements

Street-licensed motorcycles can also be transported by train. The primary requirement for a motorcycle is that its must not exceed 57.5 inches in height. This includes the windshield. The ground clearance must be at least 5 inches between the bottom of the frame and bottom of the tires. Sidecars are not permitted.

The Process

The best place to start with prices is to go to Amtrak.com and find Auto Train Tickets to estimate your fare. Once you place the reservation and the day finally comes to transport, the process is not too complicated. It is recommended to arrive early to help save yourself any stress and give Amtrak plenty of time to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Check-in

There are three scheduling tips to keep in mind:

  1. Amtrak begins accepting vehicles at 11:30 am on the day of departure.
  2. If you have an SUV, Van, Truck or a Motorcycle you must arrive no later than 2 pm. 
  3. Cars must arrive no later than 3 pm.

Baggage

Amtrak does not allow checked baggage from Auto Train passengers, but those transporting baggage can do it in their car. Passengers can only bring two bags apiece and are not allowed to access the vehicle during the trip.

Amtrak Tips

  • Tickets must be bought before station arrival.
  • Have photo ID with you when you buy a ticket and throughout the process.
  • Make sure to give yourself time when arriving to and departing from stations.
  • Because you can't access the vehicle during the trip, it is important to take whatever you need with you while on board.
  • Limit any stress by not leaving any valuables or something important in vehicle.  
  • Amtrak says that if you have a car alarm system, deactivate it before you drop off your car. Failure to do so may result in a dead battery if your alarm goes off en route.

Enjoy the Ride

Using Amtrack makes sense, so enjoy the trip knowing that you have a ride waiting for you when you get there.

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