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Old 04-23-2010, 04:38 PM   #1
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Transport by rail?

Those of you who have had to transport their newly purchased buses long distances to get them home:
Has anyone here considered, or gotten quotes for having them transported by rail? Rail transport is famously fuel-efficient so I'm wondering if it would be cost effective going this route.

Here in the Northwest there seems to be few choices in available buses and they seem to be more expensive than the national average. Most of the buses for sale seem to be in the Midwest, the Carolinas, Florida, Arizona and California. That's 1000 to over 3000 miles away. Fuel cost would be a killer if the bus is driven that far, not to mention the possibility of a breakdown in the middle of nowhere with a bus in unknown mechanical condition, as well as the cost of transportation to the out of state pickup point.

Driveaway companies are another possibility, but there again there's fuel cost and additional risk.
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:12 AM   #2
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Re: Transport by rail?

The thought crossed my mind, but i never really looked into the details. I thought it would be awesome to ship the bus to burningman and back, which is about 5K miles roundtrip.

The bus will not fit in a standard inter-modal container.
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Old 04-24-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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Re: Transport by rail?

You would probably have to go through a car shipping broker.. but:

CSXs current quote for a single level vehicle flat car is $3,224.00 when you release the railcar to them loaded and ready to go in Jacksonville FL (You'd have to have an auto place with loading and rail facilities) and they will drop it off in Chicago IL.

There you'd have to pay to have it switched to a BNSF yard, and put on a train towards whatever Northwest city you are in. It's probably about the same charge (another 3-4000) from Chicago to Portland or whatever you choose. You'd also have fuel surcharges which would be a good few hundred more tacked on.

They do make auto carriers made for buses. Problem is this, you'd have to find 2 or 3 or however many buses fit on one of those things to go from Destination City A: East coast to Destination City B: West Coast. There really is no "stop the train and unload one of the buses in Kalamazoo" and setting the car out to have it unloaded then picked back up would add an easy week to the journey, and more monayyy.

Its a cool idea for someone with lots of money, and my numbers are most assuredly off, but it willllll be expensive.

ex: My friend ships steel coils from Baltimore to Greensboro NC. About 400 rail miles. It ends up costing him a bit over $6000 per railcar. That is already owning all the equipment to load it, a locomotive to take cars closer to the yard so the railroad doesn't have to come all the way to the plant to pick them up, etc
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Old 04-24-2010, 06:10 PM   #4
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Re: Transport by rail?

Does Amtrak still ship cars? I know when we lived in FL, our next door neighbor would take Amtrak up to New Jersey (her sister's) and she put her car on the train as well.
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:01 AM   #5
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Re: Transport by rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
Does Amtrak still ship cars? I know when we lived in FL, our next door neighbor would take Amtrak up to New Jersey (her sister's) and she put her car on the train as well.
AMTK does the auto train from Florida to the DC area, but thats it. Small cars/trucks/suvs/motorcycles only
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:51 PM   #6
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Re: Transport by rail?

While living in Cordele Ga, we saw many trains go thru (couldn't go into town without having to wait for one). They carried the truck trailers on a flatbed rail car (2 per car). It seems to me that they could ship a bus this way.
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Old 04-25-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: Transport by rail?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON
Quote:
Originally Posted by southforsunshine
AMTK does the auto train from Florida to the DC area, but thats it. Small cars/trucks/suvs/motorcycles only
Actually, relatives have put a Lincoln Town Car on this train......
What is the 'actually' for? "Small" vehicles are by their own definition and measure, not yours or mine. My point was I might not have the same luck with my crew cab long bed F350 with ladder rack.. OP might not have the same luck with a big school bus

I thought my 'big' Buick was hard to drive/park around town.. until I got my truck. Now the Buick is a sports car ;) Small car for sure.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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Re: Transport by rail?

the king of obsolete (www.kingofobsolete.com) uses rail transport sometimes for his semi. he just orders normal flat deck trailers and then secures the trucks and trailers to the train car.
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:11 PM   #9
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Re: Transport by rail?

I know that I've seen brand new tractor trucks and heavy equipment being transported. Maybe if you filled the bus with a load of coal or petroleum they would just let you on! Hehe!
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:00 AM   #10
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Re: Transport by rail?

If you get a chance to see the Ringling Brothers Circus Train, they have several buses on flatbed cars...

can just make out the back of a bus in this pic... V--Right below here.


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