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Old 11-26-2020, 04:11 PM   #1
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Shipping your boat by train

I thought I would include my curious ramblings into boat transportation. I don't know why, I don't plan to ship my boat anywhere. But where I used to live in North Vancouver (Deep Cove), was the final destination for those ships that would sink, bring on the yachts, blow ballasts and rise, cruise from Florida to North Vancouver, blow ballasts and sink, then let the boats float off. So I have paid mild attention to moving boats from long distant points.

Secondly I am a model railroader with all the baggage that entails, including following favourite prototypes, learning how things are shipped, etc. I will throw in a bonus link if you are bored and have no life right now.

So the standard model of transportation is thusly: 1) Item sent on a ship (usually in a container, but could be in "break bulk") 2) then said item transferred from ship to freight train 3) then from freight train to truck. Thus items could be shipped to Vancouver from China, said item loaded unto a CN freight train and sent to Florida, then off loaded unto a truck for its final short journey.

Trains are efficient. Think about it, you put your boat on a trailer and a truck dedicated only to that trailer carries it across country. Or your boat is put on one of those sinking ships, but they only carry maybe thirty or less boats. Or you could put your boat on a train car dedicated to unusual loads, and that car along with hundreds of others traverse the country pulled by four or five engines.

So I did a quick google and came up with this one railroad link, but I have wondered how the pricing would go using it versus other modes of transportation.

https://www.a1autotransport.com/take...ping-by-train/

Bonus link for the very bored. Most don't know that Rod Stewart (Yes, that Rod Stewart) is an avid model railroader (so was Frank Sinatra and other well known celebrities). In fact Rod is considered one of the best modelers in the railway community. Turns out he is colour blind so others have to do the landscaping, he discovered this once when installing grass on the layout and his friends wanted to know why he laid red grass.... lol... his story, not mine. So with the pictures I'm going to link you to, he built them all except the bridge you might see)

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Old 11-26-2020, 05:35 PM   #2
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My impression (observation of photographs) is that the most military boats transported by train were landing craft. Tanks, jeeps, half-tracks, and trucks were common.

Rod loves building structures. He had lots of help building his model railroad.
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Old 11-26-2020, 05:42 PM   #3
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That's a really interesting thought....
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:16 PM   #4
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I brought up shipping boats by train a few years back and the loudest advice was a boat would get shaken apart traveling by rail.

Not sure a train is worse than snot beating weather for a couple days...my trips on a train were pretty smooth but passenger and freight cars the same???
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:38 PM   #5
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I am working for a class 1 railroad so I can provide some hints. Problem with shipping a boat by train is not really a problem of vibration, weight or cost but more of size. Except if the boat is on the small side, having a boat loaded on a train car is difficult mostly considering its width and height. Don't forget that trains are going through bridges, tunnels, yards and are crossing each others.
While this can of course be done I would more see that on short line (meaning quite local).
Of course nothing is impossible, last year CN moved a huge WWII tank across Canada, but this was really something and I am not sure you would afford the price tag of a special shipment that requires such a logistic effort.

Note: Also standard train cars are not meant to move boats so yo would need a custom crate built and secured on a flat car just for you ($$$) and yards are no equipped with cranes to move boats so you will need to rent yours ($$$$).

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Old 11-26-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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My grandfather and uncle were CN engineers. My grandfather took the Supercontinental (later Via) from Jasper to Edson and back in one day, then next day off. He lived in Jasper.

Image of a double stack container car:

https://www.google.com/search?q=larg...GjAFP7SVPnyU5M

Over sized:

https://www.google.com/search?q=larg...vvD9FlWna7l8-M

Note how the car in the above image dips down to take a load with height, yet able to go through tunnels.
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Old 11-26-2020, 08:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rsn48 View Post
My grandfather and uncle were CN engineers. My grandfather took the Supercontinental (later Via) from Jasper to Edson and back in one day, then next day off. He lived in Jasper.

Image of a double stack container car:

https://www.google.com/search?q=larg...GjAFP7SVPnyU5M

Over sized:

https://www.google.com/search?q=larg...vvD9FlWna7l8-M

Note how the car in the above image dips down to take a load with height, yet able to go through tunnels.
Height of the shipment is lower than 2 stacked containers.

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Old 11-26-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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What is the width limitation for train transport? Isn't the 13-14 foot beam of a 40-ish footer too wide?
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:28 PM   #9
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What is the width limitation for train transport? Isn't the 13-14 foot beam of a 40-ish footer too wide?
Again depends on the depth of your wallet. If deep enough width is not an issue. Trains can be scheduled not to cross each other but there is a cost for this.
Same for the crate that will need to be built and certified for safety.
Same for the crane to move the boat in/out the crane.
Same for the insurance of the shipment.
Etc etc etc.

Again not saying it is impossible, just saying that depending on boat size, origin and destination, this can be an expensive option.

My boat is 30' LOA, beam almost 11', height from keel to top of the arch around 17', I would approximately reach the limit of a regular shipment but I am pretty sure I would pay very expensive premium to have my employer taking the risk to move it, and even if I can get discount.



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Old 11-26-2020, 10:58 PM   #10
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From the link I provided in the first post, obviously there are boats that shipping by train won't work, but then again there are some boats it would work with:

How to Take Advantage of Boat Shipping by Train?
Boat shipping by train isn’t as common as shipping a boat by truck or ship. Nevertheless, it is a great way to transport your vessel, especially if it must make a cross-country trip.

Shipping by train is an efficient way to get nearly anything transported, especially if it’s large in size or hazardous. Use the Internet to find the best boat shipping companies around.

As you call around gathering quotes and obtaining more information, ask about transshipments. A lot of the time when customer purchases train shipping services they’ll end up paying transshipment costs. This may not affect you if another transport method is chosen. Ask the transporter what your best option is or what they suggest is the right way to ship your boat.

A-1 Auto Transport ships worldwide. Click Here or call 1-800-452-2880 to get a free, no obligation to buy, price quote for your shipment.
Measure the Boat for the Transport Company
Before you can receive a close estimate to your final shipping costs or any suggestions, you must have the boat’s measurements ready for the transporter. It’s important that the proper measurements are given. To avoid giving out false dimensions, understand how to measure the boat properly.

Length - measure from the front of the bow to the middle of the stern.
Height - measure from the keel to the highest part of the boat.
Width - measure the widest part of the boat including any protruding attachments.
The boat’s dimensions affect more than just the price for the transport. You may face restrictions in your train shipping service options or adjustments might be necessary to safely transport the boat. Your transport professionals will immediately know what to suggest after they receive the measurements of your boat and all other relevant information. If you contact the transporter by phone, they’ll have an honest quote ready for you in just minutes.
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Old 11-27-2020, 07:56 AM   #11
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Bridge clearance on an train can be an issue. Two million dollars worth of damage here.

https://youtu.be/pcqfa_uj2hA
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:38 PM   #12
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Number one reason is size but there are others. All the logistics would be a challenge and it introduces extra steps. From water to train to water. Plus train cargo does shift and occasionally is damaged but they have excellent companies with warehouses set up to handle it, to reposition, to retie, to do whatever needs to be done, but those likely wouldn't be prepared to handle boats. Train shipping is great if you're really set up for it. Nothing more convenient than raw materials arriving at your side entrance by rail or shipping out the same way.

My experience has been you don't just decide to ship an item by train, but you set up your business to use rail transportation regularly. I've seen some incredible setups with tracks actually through the warehouse. But it's not easy just to decide to try for one item.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:23 PM   #13
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But the opposite is easier to do, you can ship trains by boat, take a look at CN aAquatrain, it is an amazing piece!

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Old 11-27-2020, 06:43 PM   #14
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That width and height could be am issue. I shipped our GB 42 Europa from Ensenada, MX to Port Everglades, FL and worked out very well. The mitigating factor with shipping by ship (crane load or float off), is time. The load date is completely dependent upon day of arrival which is constantly changing. The same issue on arrival date. Both completely dependent on weather, port issues, etc.
FYI, transport cost: $22.5K in 2017.
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:34 PM   #15
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Number one reason is size but there are others. All the logistics would be a challenge and it introduces extra steps. From water to train to water. Plus train cargo does shift and occasionally is damaged but they have excellent companies with warehouses set up to handle it, to reposition, to retie, to do whatever needs to be done, but those likely wouldn't be prepared to handle boats. Train shipping is great if you're really set up for it. Nothing more convenient than raw materials arriving at your side entrance by rail or shipping out the same way.

My experience has been you don't just decide to ship an item by train, but you set up your business to use rail transportation regularly. I've seen some incredible setups with tracks actually through the warehouse. But it's not easy just to decide to try for one item.

Agreed. I could see it for volume distribution of smaller boats - maybe. I just don't see anything that a rail car could carry that and truck couldn't also carry. And the truck has the distinct advantage of running point to point without any transfers.
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:00 PM   #16
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Agreed. I could see it for volume distribution of smaller boats - maybe. I just don't see anything that a rail car could carry that and truck couldn't also carry. And the truck has the distinct advantage of running point to point without any transfers.
Well railcar payload limit is far higher than truck. Height allowance also is usually higher than trucks on main lines.
Also whatever the transfer is, payload is not move out of the railcar just switched from train to train except for origin and destination.

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Old 11-27-2020, 09:59 PM   #17
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Well railcar payload limit is far higher than truck. Height allowance also is usually higher than trucks on main lines.
Also whatever the transfer is, payload is not move out of the railcar just switched from train to train except for origin and destination.

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It's the origin and destination that seem more complicated to me, and likely involve trucking at each end anyway. But it would all depend on the specifics of the route,. I suppose.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:13 PM   #18
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It's the origin and destination that seem more complicated to me, and likely involve trucking at each end anyway. But it would all depend on the specifics of the route,. I suppose.
Indeed. Like I mentioned in a previous answer, train yards are not equipped with cranes to move boat so the customer will be charge for it. Also need to assume that the path from yard to destination does not have any obstacle (bridge, power line etc).
If you also take in account the time spent (yes time is money) to move a boat in/out the railcar, plus additional cost for the crate, certification for safety, shipment insurance etc etc etc cost would be prohibitive for most of us.

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Old 11-27-2020, 10:45 PM   #19
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Indeed. Like I mentioned in a previous answer, train yards are not equipped with cranes to move boat so the customer will be charge for it. Also need to assume that the path from yard to destination does not have any obstacle (bridge, power line etc).
If you also take in account the time spent (yes time is money) to move a boat in/out the railcar, plus additional cost for the crate, certification for safety, shipment insurance etc etc etc cost would be prohibitive for most of us.

L

You seem to have the best understanding of this. Are there situations where you think it might make sense for boats? It's hard for me to believe it would make sense for a one-off shipment. But maybe for a builder to distribute boats from the factory? Since nobody seems to ship by rail, it implies it doesn't make sense.
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:11 PM   #20
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You seem to have the best understanding of this. Are there situations where you think it might make sense for boats? It's hard for me to believe it would make sense for a one-off shipment. But maybe for a builder to distribute boats from the factory? Since nobody seems to ship by rail, it implies it doesn't make sense.
Volume is key, if you ship many cost would be lowered but for a one time shipping I don't think it would worth it except for short lines where constraints may be less than main lines and still handling constraints would make trucking more effective.
Most of the time train is better suited for mass movements being cars, grain, chemicals, boxes, wood etc rarely suited for a one off that requires specific handling except if its value worth it. Everything can be shipped but it is a ratio of shipment value vs shipment cost. Gold and precious goods are shipped and require special handling, but paying a couple of thousands is nothing compared to a couple of millions in gross value... always back to the same basic principle: if you can afford it than why not

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