Long-distance moves by railway: eco-friendly and efficient

December 8, 2014

Should you ship your belongings by truck or train? Here are some good reasons why moving your stuff long distances by railway could be a more efficient, eco-friendly and reliable option.

Long-distance moves by railway: eco-friendly and efficient

In terms of air quality alone, rail freight is the most eco-friendly form of cargo transport. What's more, you can ship virtually anything by train: tools, clothing, furniture and large appliances, vehicles and more. The only restrictions are on hazardous materials, like propane and gasoline, which are strictly forbidden.

What is the process?


Your moving quote is determined either by volume or by a flat rate per container.

  • If the weight of your container exceeds the recommended volume capacity once it’s loaded, you’ll pay an additional premium.
  • You must insure your goods, whether going through the rail carrier’s insurance or your own homeowner's policy.
  • Keep in mind there are many railway companies in Canada to choose from. As such, you can also easily transport goods and relocate between Canada and the United States – a real plus when moving into a new home located in another part of the country.

What are the sizes of containers?


Containers are available in three sizes: 20, 40 and 53 feet. In width, containers vary between seven and eight feet. Unfortunately, when it comes to selecting a size, you won’t get a choice in the matter.

  • The container size will be pre-determined for you depending on the province you live in and where it’s going.
  • You must confirm availability and reserve shipping containers well in advance.

On the other hand, you also have the option of shipping your own storage container by rail carrier, provided it meets specific railway safety standards.

Loading and unloading


  • You can have the container transported directly to your home or to a warehouse storage facility for both loading and unloading.
  • The container will travel by trailer, but you are required to provide an adequate access ramp. Keep in mind the trailer bed sits at least four feet above ground.
  • Unless you hire moving specialists, you are responsible for loading and unloading the goods to be shipped. For that reason, make sure your belongings are securely packed and tied down.
  • The railway carrier will transport your container to the nearest train station. Upon arrival and transfer to a trailer, from there it can be delivered to your new home.
  • Except for last-minute items, it is forbidden to load or unload the container at the station or in the railway yard.

IMPORTANT: Ask your new city about what measures to take when you receive the container and any permits you may need for parking it outside your home upon receipt. Otherwise, you may receive an unexpected fine.

How long will it take to receive my goods?



Anticipate a wait of between three and eight days to receive your personal shipment, depending on the route it takes: transit between Vancouver and Montreal takes about six days; between Toronto and Calgary is about three.

  • In the meantime, you can locate your shipment using your railway carrier’s online tracking tool.

Whether across Canada or across the continent, long-distance moves by railway are efficient, eco-friendly and a great way to transport your possessions with total peace of mind as you move into your new home.

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