8 Questions About Railroad Siding Warehouses Answered

Posted on December 05, 2022

How Rail Siding Warehouses Add ValueUnless you are part of the industry, railroad siding or warehouse siding isn’t something you are likely familiar with. If you are knowledgeable about rail siding, then you know something about this emerging means of transporting goods. So, what makes rail siding worth mentioning? Well, it’s fast becoming a regular means of transporting goods including industrial materials, food, cargo, and shipments. The possibilities of warehouse siding are almost limitless, since train cars can be altered to fit the needs of your company.

The way in which a business transports their goods is vital to their effective operations. Most of your public warehousing decisions will probably be made based on the category and quantity of products you plan to store. Rail siding is just one more tool you can now use to make the best decision for your particular product’s needs.

What exactly is it?

By definition, a railroad siding is a small stretch of railroad track that is used to store rolling stock or enable trains to pass through on the same line. Railroad-siding warehouses are specific locations meant to store and transport goods from one region to another. Warehouses that contain rail siding have direct access to trains that carry shipments from point A to point B.

Rail siding makes accessibility and proximity to the warehouse that much easier, removing the need for any additional transportation. So not only does rail siding make distribution that much simpler, but it also affects the bottom line regarding transportation expenses.

This can be particularly enticing for businesses that are undergoing a growth, whether it be in quantity of goods or acquiring new contracts from companies looking to distribute their products.

Is the railroad underutilized?

Before the development and popularization of ground transport through the use of trucks, the railroad served the backbone of the country’s economy. As the use of trucks became more and more commonplace, business owners began to think of railroad transport as archaic, even cumbersome.

However, in today’s economy, many companies’ over-reliance on truck transport had led to a slowing of the system. This slowing is not just in terms of traffic, either, but also in terms of expenditure and needed workers. In light of this, business owners are beginning to once again look towards the ever dependable railroad.

For those interested in lowering transportation expenses and avoiding the clog and dangers of streets and highways, a railroad siding warehouse might be the ideal business investment.

What are the pros and cons?

Some pros to using rail-siding warehouses are central locations and expedition of services.

The benefits of utilizing the freight systems aren’t just specific to big or small businesses; there are numerous public benefits including the decrease in road congestion, highway fatalities, fuel consumptions, logistics costs, and public substructure maintenance expenses. This all means that the public might actually be appreciative of your choice to go with rail siding versus trucks.

There are numerous advantages to using rail siding, and after much research, hardly any cons. In fact, none could be found, except for a few minimal complaints that had more to do with specific businesses than the use of rail siding.

Another under-acknowledged benefit of freight systems utilization is the minimal environmental impact involved. Railroads are the most fuel-efficient means of land transportation, and using freight systems rather than trucks reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%. Zero-emission cranes are used to transfer goods in ports and rail facilities, eliminating the need for fossil fuels during this step, locomotives now feature anti-idling technologies to further reduce environmental impact. One single train is capable of carrying more freight than hundreds of trucks combined; and with improved railcar designs and advances in technology, the amount each car can carry is only increasing, further contributing to overall transport efficiency. 

Will my cargo arrive faster?

With the number of warehouses in the United States, freight is still a relatively underutilized means to transport merchandise and products across great distances. The plus side of the railway is that most anything can be shipped by rail. While trucks can be a suitable solution for goods traveling short distances, the farther a product needs to travel, the better a solution railway can become. Many companies are still hung up on only transporting goods through the use of trucks, but freight opens up many doors for transportation. It provides some cost-saving measures through fuel usage.

Railroad-siding warehouses are a great way to facilitate your logistics. Many people outside the industry have never even heard of their use, but those in the know are certainly utilizing it to their advantage. Railroad siding may not be an option for every business, but it is certainly something to research if you think it could be beneficial to your company.

Utilization of railways also allows goods and cargo to remain in transport in the event of adverse weather events, as locomotives are minimally impacted by inclement conditions. Trains are characteristically robust and durable and are known for remaining operational when trucks and other methods of transportation are unable. Some may associate trains with delays, as many have experienced waiting forever and a half for a train to pass while stuck at a red light.

However, in actuality, railway delays are becoming more and more infrequent as communication technologies continue to improve. In other words, no matter the circumstances, the trains will keep chugging forward, and so will your cargo.

Who will benefit?

As mentioned, railroad siding warehouses are capable of facilitating the transport of many types of goods. From industrial materials and cargo to food and small-scale shipments, very few limitations exist, considering train cars are capable of accommodation. This means the addition of a railroad siding warehouse stands to benefit a significant number of businesses and industries by allowing owners to streamline their transportation processes, and thereby boost fulfillment by cutting down on shipping time. This increase in fulfillment efficiency may furthermore boost business overall, as order turnarounds become more swift and reliable. 

Is using rail siding a safe alternative to using conventional shipping?

In short; yes. Transporting shipments by train is a safe option because the possibilities of overturning or getting into a crash are greatly reduced, especially if living in an area with severe weather. Rail siding keeps your products moving through unfavorable weather conditions that could otherwise prevent your shipments from getting where they need to be. This means a rail siding warehouse will facilitate product flow, in addition to keeping your products secure.

What Do Costs Typically Look Like When Using a Siding Warehouse?

When using a siding warehouse, things are typically much quicker and less expensive than using somewhere else or another mode of transport. This is because it is much more efficient than other options.

The entire transportation process is also cheaper, as one railcar can transport more than a typical truck can. This means there are fewer costs associated with transportation in general.

Will the Siding Warehouse Determine if You Need a Truck in the Distribution Process?

If you choose to use a siding warehouse, your distribution needs will be taken care of in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.

The warehouse has a full-service transportation division, which means that it is pretty simple to take care of logistics when it comes to the distribution process. This means that if you require a truck for short-haul transport but the rail for a long haul, the logistics can be figured out by the warehouse to do what is best.

A third-party logistics team can determine which mode of transportation is best for everyone involved to meet your requirements. More common than not, though, there is a mix of several different modes of transport.

Will Weather Impact My Delivery?

No. The benefit of using a siding warehouse is that you will not have to worry about delivery. Railroads are less impacted by weather conditions like snow or rain, whereas trucks are impacted by these natural conditions.  There are less likely to be delays with traffic as well (especially in adverse weather conditions), so your shipment is likely to arrive faster by rail.

How Does the Unloading Process Work?

The unloading process of freight is more important than other modes of transport to make sure things will go smoothly. For starters, if it is done improperly, it can damage the goods being transported. However, it can also damage the freight car as well.

Anyone who is unloading has to be trained properly to do this work. There should also be ample communication between workers during this process to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This could be both verbal and physical, with hand signs and other forms of communication.

Unraveling the Mysteries: More Questions To Consider

Railroad siding warehouses offer unique advantages and challenges compared to traditional warehouses. They are strategically located near rail lines, allowing for efficient transportation of goods by train. If you’re considering a railroad siding warehouse for your business, you likely have several questions about their operations and benefits.

Here, we answer the 8 most common questions to help you make an informed decision:

What is a Railroad Siding Warehouse?

  • A railroad siding warehouse is a facility located adjacent to a railroad siding, which is a track connected to the main railroad line. These warehouses are designed to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods directly from railcars, providing a cost-effective and efficient transportation solution for businesses.

How Does the Railroad Siding Work?

  • The railroad siding is a short section of track that branches off from the main railroad line and leads directly into the warehouse facility. Railcars are maneuvered onto the siding, allowing for easy access to the warehouse’s loading docks. This setup eliminates the need for additional transportation of goods from a distant rail yard to the warehouse, reducing costs and transit times.

What Are the Benefits of Using Railroad Siding Warehouses?

  • One of the primary benefits of railroad siding warehouses is their cost-effectiveness. By utilizing rail transport, businesses can save significantly on shipping costs compared to truck transport. Additionally, rail transport is more environmentally friendly, making it a sustainable choice for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

What Types of Goods are Suited for Railroad Siding Warehouses?

  • Railroad siding warehouses are well-suited for a wide range of goods, including raw materials, and manufactured products. Goods that benefit from the cost savings and efficiency of rail transport are ideal for storage in these facilities.

How is Access to Railroad Siding Warehouses Managed?

  • Access to railroad siding warehouses is typically managed by the facility operator or the railroad company. Businesses that lease space in these warehouses are granted access to the siding for loading and unloading purposes. Special arrangements can be made for businesses that require regular access to the siding for their operations.

What Infrastructure is Required for Railroad Siding Warehouses?

  • Railroad siding warehouses require specific infrastructure to support rail operations, including loading docks, railcar spurs, and secure storage areas. Additionally, these facilities may require specialized equipment, such as forklifts and clamp trucks, to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods from railcars.

How Can Businesses Determine if a Railroad Siding Warehouse is Right for Them?

  • Businesses can determine if a railroad siding warehouse is right for them by evaluating their transportation needs, shipping volume, and budget. If a business regularly ships large volumes of goods that can benefit from rail transport, a railroad siding warehouse may be a cost-effective solution.

What Considerations Should Businesses Keep in Mind When Choosing a Railroad Siding Warehouse?

  • When choosing a railroad siding warehouse, businesses should consider factors such as location, access to rail lines, infrastructure, and cost. It’s also important to consider the reputation and track record of the facility operator to ensure reliable and efficient service.

In conclusion, railroad siding warehouses offer a cost-effective and efficient transportation solution for businesses looking to optimize their supply chain operations. By understanding how these facilities operate and the benefits they offer, businesses can make informed decisions about whether a railroad siding warehouse is right for them.

If your company requires reliable railroad siding and logistic services, contact us today, and we’ll provide the best possible solution for you!

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