Railway Shipping - Part 1

Railway shipping offers businesses the opportunity to ship goods from one place to another. Railway shipping uses different types of cars or vehicles to transport goods. Therefore, a railway carriage is a car or vehicle, running on a rail transport system used for the transportation of cargo. Thus, railway shipping is a part of the logistics chain, which increases international trade and economic growth. Rail transport offers an eco-friendly mode of transportation that is fuel efficient and cost-effective. Also, it is a capital-intensive means of mechanized land transport. The main benefit of rail transport is that trains have a small frontal area with respect to the load they are carrying, which reduces air resistance and energy usage. Because of these advantages, rail transport is a major form of public and commercial transport in many countries.

Typically, rail shipping is possibly the best and least expensive mode of transportation. Shipping goods by rail is less expensive if the goods are near the rail head so that they are picked up and delivered directly. Rail shipping is most economical for shipping large and heavy goods. The cost of transportation through rail is less expensive than trucking or flying the products. Also one may choose any size for their goods transportation from class I, regional or local.  Under current conditions, regardless if one is a farmer or a major industrialist, train shipping gives a competitive and reliable transportation solution.

One should, however, keep in mind a few things before choosing railway for shipping goods. The first thing is whether trains run to the point of destination or to a hub that connects to the destination. The second consideration is whether or not the rail freight rates fit one's budget. Finally, one should make arrangements to transfer the goods from truck to rail and then again from rail to truck after they have arrived at their destination. The seven class I railway shipping companies that operate throughout the U.S. are the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF), CSX Corporation Inc., Canadian National Railway (CN), Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Kansas City Southern (KCS), and Union Pacific Railroad.

The railway carriage that carries commercial goods is commonly known as a freight car. There is a variety available for different kinds of goods. Initially there existed only a boxcar, which was a closed box fitted with side doors. This is now expanded to include:

1: Auto-carriers: specialized multi-level cars designed for shipping automobiles
2: Coil Car: a specialized type of rolling stock designed for the transportation of coils of sheet metal
3: Covered hopper: fitted with a cover for weather and temperature sensitive loads
4: Flatcar: used for larger cargo not easily loaded into a boxcar
5: Lorry: an open railroad car with a tipping trough, normally used in mines
7: Refrigerator car: a refrigerated subtype of boxcar
8: Side-dump cars: used to ship roadbed materials including ballast and large stones, and are able to unload anywhere along the track
9: Stock car: used for transporting livestock
10: Tank car: used for transporting liquids, such as petroleum
11: Transporter wagon: designed to transport other railway equipments

All the different types of freight cars help transport materials including grains, stone, coal, ethanol, and petroleum. Thus, shipping through railways provides a variety of options in terms of what goods are transported and it can do so in the most cost-effective manner.