Everyone knows about FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service, but did you know that you can ship items on Amtrak trains? Amtrak Express Shipping offers station-to-station shipping services between more than 100 cities. Keep reading to find out what kinds of items you can ship with Amtrak and how much it will set you back.
How Does It Work?
With Amtrak Express Shipping, you can ship items and packages between over 100 Amtrak stations across the continental U.S. Most Amtrak stations with baggage check services also offer Amtrak Express Shipping services. To ship with Amtrak, your items must be sent from and picked up at a participating Amtrak station. There is no home delivery or door-to-door service available through Amtrak.
Amtrak shipments are accepted at participating stations between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.. No appointment is needed to ship items with Amtrak. To find a participating station, locate individual Amtrak stations on the Amtrak Train Routes page. Pick the route that goes where you need, then scroll down and select the station you want to drop off at. Click on the Baggage tab under the Station Details section. If your station has checked baggage service, it probably also participates in the Amtrak Express Shipping program. You should see “Amtrak Express shipping available” with the list of baggage-related services available.
Types of Shipping
Amtrak Express Shipping offers two types of shipping services: Small Package Shipment and Heavy and Commercial Shipments.
- Small Package Shipment: Individual items or packages that meet Amtrak’s weight and size requirements; small packages must be no more than 3 ft by 3 ft by 3 ft in size and 50 pounds in weight
- Heavy and Commercial Shipments: Offered at most major Amtrak stations for individual pallets weighing up to 500 pounds
For both small package and commercial shipments, individual boxes can’t weigh more than 50 pounds.
What Can You Ship?
Packaged Items up to 50 Pounds
For both Small Package Shipments and Heavy and Commercial Shipments, you can ship most items that can be packaged in individual boxes up to 50 pounds, including books, clothing, toys, household items, products, and more. There are some restrictions on these items, as Amtrak will not ship anything liquid, hazardous, or perishable. For more detailed information on restricted shipping items, see below.
Amtrak Express Shipping handles regular bicycles and unicycles. A “regular” bicycle is any two-wheeled bike that can be partially disassembled and packaged in a bicycle box. Three-wheel, tandem, and bicycles with unusual structures are not permitted.
Bicycles must be packaged in a bicycle box. You can supply your own or purchase one for $15 from a participating Amtrak station. Amtrak recommends calling ahead to the origin station to make sure they have bicycle boxes available for purchase. You can find contact information for individual stations by searching for your nearest Amtrak on the Amtrak Train Routes page.
If you need to transport human remains, Amtrak offers station-to-station shipping for this service. In order to ship human remains, you’ll need to coordinate with funeral directors at both the origin and destination stations, who are typically required to provide their own staff for loading and unloading the remains onto and off the train.
For more information on shipping human remains, contact Amtrak Express Shipping customer service at (800) 377-6914 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.EST, Monday through Friday.
What Can’t You Ship?
- Fragile/delicate items
- Perishable items (food, live plants, or animals)
- Motorized vehicles
- Any individual item(s) that cannot be packaged in boxes weighing 50 pounds or less
If you have questions regarding an item that isn’t listed here, it’s best to contact Amtrak’s shipping department at (800) 377-6914 to discuss your options.
Amtrak Shipping Rates
Amtrak shipping rates vary according to the weight of the items or packages being shipped, as well as the distance between the origin station and the destination station. For small packages, the rates are typically $20 to $50 depending on weight and distance. We confirmed this information with Amtrak customer service representatives.
Shipping fees for heavy shipments are usually available at a per-pound discounted price after the first 100 pounds — for example, shipping from Albuquerque, NM, to Richmond, VA, is $75 for the first 100 pounds and $0.70 for each additional pound.
To avoid additional fees, you must pick up the shipments at the Amtrak station they’re delivered to within 48 hours. After 48 hours, there is a fee of $4 per package per day to hold shipments at an Amtrak station.
You can get an exact quote for your shipping needs by calling Amtrak Express Shipping customer service at (800) 377-6914.
Now you know the Amtrak shipping rates and more. Although not as well known as FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service, Amtrak offers station-to-station shipping services throughout the continental United States. Both small package and heavy commercial shipping services are available, and you can also ship bicycles and human remains with Amtrak. Shipping rates for Amtrak Express Shipping vary, so be sure to call ahead and find out how much it will cost to ship your particular items or packages.
Want another option besides Amtrak? Here are the companies that offer one-way rental vans and trucks.