7 Advantages of Using Rail Transport

Posted on September 08, 2022

advantages of using rail transportWhen your company is shipping goods, you have a big decision to make. Which method of transportation will you use?

Transporting goods by train offers many advantages well worth consideration. This is especially true if you are sending your goods a long way. Railway transport is common in countries with long transit times. Knowing the advantages of using rail transport can help you make your decision. Here’s a quick run-down of train transport advantages to consider:

  1. Fewer Size and Weight Limitations
  2. Cost-Effective Over Distances
  3. Transport in All Conditions
  4. Environmentally Friendly
  5. Covid Safe
  6. Efficient Tracking and Cargo Safety
  7. Speedy Delivery and Reliability

Fewer Size and Weight Limitations

Truck transport is often limited by cargo size and weight restrictions. This is true when traveling through more than one state. Regulations generally differ from one state to the next. Transporting goods by train removes those restrictions. Transporting heavy or bulky goods by train means that your cargo gets to its destination in one trip. This makes the delivery faster, more reliable, and more satisfactory to your customers. Freight trains can also carry any cargo. With other methods of transport, there are strict rules about what you can send. These lower weight limits make rail transport useful for moving goods like coal or steel.

Cost-Effective Over Distances

Shipping items via truck is more cost-effective over short distances. But, nothing beats railway transport for longer distances. Trains use far less fuel than other forms of transportation. This ensures efficient shipping, especially for long-haul travel. They can carry more, as noted above, which puts that fuel to good use.

And, if you need to add more goods, you add another train car, making use of what’s already in place. That’s more cost-effective than having to hire another truck and another driver. The average cost for rail transportation is about $0.04 per ton-mile, compared to more than 34 times that for air.

The costs of maintaining the railways are also lower than those for roads. Roadways need maintenance all year round to remain functional. Railways receive routine checks, but periodic maintenance takes place every 2-3 years. This means there is less disruption to the routes. The cost of rail transportation generally increases with the distance traveled. This is offset by the fact that trains can move more cargo per mile than trucks or ships. Rail transport is also safer for the driver and cargo over long distances. This is especially true when passing through remote areas. There are also fewer accidents involving trains. The United States has an infrastructure of more than 100,000 miles of rail lines. This rail network has the capacity to transport more than 10 million tons of freight each year. This is more than enough capacity to transport all the nation’s freight needs. In fact, only about 30% of this capacity is currently in use.

Transport in All Conditions

Anything moving by truck is subject to weather, traffic, and road conditions. If a highway is unavailable, a bad storm moves in, or vehicles snarl in a busy location, your shipment may get held up. Railway transport is more dependable. Railways are able to operate in all weather conditions including snow, rain, wind, and fog. This makes it an efficient mode of transport for companies that still need deliveries to go out. During weather events, other forms of transportation may be unavailable. When operating vehicles in extreme weather conditions, there are higher fuel costs involved. They may not work out to be cost-effective for the business owner. Traffic is not an issue at all. While trucks are subject to accidents and breakdowns, railway transport is much safer. This means lower rates of incidents that can slow your delivery down. It takes less time to load and unload goods on a train than on a truck, which means fewer delays in delivery. This can be important if you need to meet deadlines or get your products to customers as promised.

Environmentally Friendly

One train transporting goods does the work of many trucks doing the same. The environmental benefits are clear. The Association of American Railroads says that trains can move one ton of freight almost 500 miles on one gallon of fuel. Moving freight by rail vs. truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent. If your business is concerned about the environment and wants to choose green methods of transport, trains are the ideal solution. We mentioned earlier that rail transport uses fewer fossil fuels to transport cargo. It’s important to expand on this further with a discussion on carbon dioxide emissions.

If you’re concerned about carbon footprint, rail transport remains your best option. Why? The carbon emission for standard rail services is less than with the alternatives. You can reduce your company’s carbon emissions by almost 20 percent if you switch to rail. Making the change is a more conscious choice for the environment. Because of the larger space, trains can transport cargo for several companies at once. More cargo on one load means less CO2 is being emitted into the air. The monitoring systems on the railways are also solar-powered, ensuring sustainable rail transport.


It’s no secret. COVID-19 has affected the way many businesses calculate and assess their transport strategies. There’s been a lot of supply chain disruption because of the pandemic. Yet, there are still many advantages of using rail transport. For example, air freight used to be the fastest option but now struggles to have as much capacity as it used to. Rates are now higher for air freight and it isn’t seen as reliable as it was before.

Ocean freight is also facing issues specific to the pandemic. With warehousing and distribution channels slowing down efficiency, shipping times have increased in recent months. This is why rail transport is becoming the most viable option for hauling larger loads. Companies that have relied on ocean freight are now turning to rail transport to ship products to customers. Rail freight transport has the advantage of faster operation during the current pandemic. It remains safer and more efficient, despite the supply chain issues affecting many today.

Rail operations are not affected by the spread of diseases, whereas an outbreak on an ocean vessel can slow down the entire shipping industry.

Efficient Tracking and Cargo Safety

There’s a prevailing fear that putting your cargo on a train isn’t the safest option. A lot of people view the railway as an antiquated form of transport.

But, the safety of rail freight transport shouldn’t be a worry anymore. Rail transport safety has dramatically increased in recent years. It’s now considered one of the safest options out there.

GPS tracking is now common practice for many rail transport services. Tracking your cargo is also much easier than with other modes of transport. You can use the railway’s own tracking system, or you can set up your own private system with a third-party provider.

This will allow you to monitor your shipment from start to finish and ensure that it arrives safely at its destination. Carriers can also report to their clients about the state of the package during transit.

This level of comprehensive tracking has helped companies be more trusting of rail car transport over the years. Safety technology and tracking options are continuing to improve, meaning reliability will increase.

Speedy Delivery and Reliability

A lot of people use this method because they want their packages delivered quickly. The speed at which a package is delivered depends on the distance from where the package is shipped to where it’s being sent. How many stops the train makes along the way also influences shipping time. While rail transport isn’t recommended for time-sensitive deliveries, it is reliable and efficient. The average transit time can turn out close to what it is by road, especially over longer hauls. So, you get all the benefits listed above, along with efficient delivery.

Train transport for your goods is very reliable. It’s managed by a railway company or government agency. The railways and all aspects of the traffic flowing on them are monitored. With rail cargo, you’re assured that your goods will arrive at their destination on time. Rail transport is also very flexible. If there are any changes to the delivery schedule, you’ll be notified of them. Railway companies are also well-equipped to handle all types of goods and products. They have specialized equipment for heavy items but they can transport a letter for you too!

Leverage the Advantages of Using Rail Transport Today

For cross-country and international cargo, the advantages of using rail transport are countless. Rail transport is a cost-effective option for businesses. The use of rail transport allows you to cut back on the costs associated with shipping. Rail is also more efficient and has a lower carbon footprint than road transport. Use this guide to help you understand the advantages of rail transport today.

Need reliable rail transport logistic services? Contact us today and we’ll provide the best possible solution for you!