Home > Cars & Transportation > Rail > Would it be possible to send a train from Europe to America and vice versa with a merchant ship?

Would it be possible to send a train from Europe to America and vice versa with a merchant ship?

Flat cars would be on European railways. The gauge is the same. The coupling is different, but it can be adapted. Today there are trains going from Europe to China. Of course, it is only by land, but a journey by ship between the two sides of the Atlantic would not be a very long journey.

  • Best Answer

    It's not that unusual.  I remember when Amtrak was "trying out" two European train sets, to see if the technology would be good for the US.  The individual train cars were placed on freighters and brought to the US, where they were reconnected and some  modifications made  so they could run on US tracks.  After the end of the testing, they were shipped back to Europe.

    DON W
    Lv 7 4 months ago 0 0
  • Other Answer
  • It's not that unusual.  I remember when Amtrak was "trying out" two European train sets, to see if the technology would be good for the US.  The individual train cars were placed on freighters and brought to the US, where they were reconnected and some  modifications made  so they could run on US tracks.  After the end of the testing, they were shipped back to Europe.

    DON W 4 months ago 0 0
  • Check out Bombardier Transportation over in Germany. I think they do this thing all the time.

    jbkl 3 months ago 0 0
  • The additional weight of the bogies or trucks would cut into the actual tonnage shipped. The weight of those items alone is about seven tons each 14 tons per car. A rail car also has a frame and appliances like air tanks for brakes. While a shipping container does not have any of these items and also they can be easily secured against rough seas.

    Then there is the issue of loading- getting a complete train on to a container ship would mean a lot more ballast because the train can not be loaded below the water line by rolling it on. A container ship has several layers of containers stacked one on another. This can not be done with a rail car.

    So between loading and excess weight, it becomes economically feasible to just load the container and not the whole car.

    Major container yards can unload or load a ship in a day from a train car. But loading rolling stock (which would not carry that much revenue) would take longer and also a more difficult to manage loading system/s.

    Old Man Dirt 4 months ago 0 0
  • Even if it was technically possible, it wouldn't be economically practical.

    For passengers, the cost, including bringing along food for them, life jackets, and everything else they would need, would be more than the cost of just flying them on airplanes.

    For freight trains, rather than putting the freight in box cars and bringing the entire train on the ship, it makes more sense to put the freight in cargo containers, bring the cargo containers on a train to the port, take them off the train and put them on the ship, and then put them on another train after the ship crosses the ocean.

    StephenWeinstein 4 months ago 0 0
  • You have been asking this forever.  Trains are MANUFACTURED TO SPECIFICATIONS to the country that is buying them and they are transported by the most convenient and economical means and that means usually by the sea route. 

    Anonymous 4 months ago 0 0
  • If you’re asking whether a US-train could roll onto a ship and then roll off for use straight onto UK/European railways then the answer is “no”. 

    The loading gauges are different, the signalling equipment wouldn’t comply, and there are European countries which use different gauges (such as Spain, Russia, and Ireland).

    What you propose is pointless and impractical. It’s far easier and more efficient to simply use the existing system of internationally standardised shipping containers which can be quickly switched from railway flatbeds to truck flatbeds and then stacked high on container ships and in storage yards.

    Robsteriark 4 months ago 0 0
  • The way I interpret your question, you're asking if you can send the cargo on a train and load it onto a ship, without unloading the original containers on the train? If that's the question, then answer is most definitely a yes! That's exactly what's happening now, it's called multi-modal transportation. Those shipping containers that get loaded onto the decks of cargo ships are exactly those train boxcars. What they do is that the shipping container is detached from the wheels of the train, and lifted onto the deck of a ship, without its wheels. These containers can also be loaded onto the flatbeds of trucks too, and not just trains, thus that's why it's called multi-modal.

    Anonymous 4 months ago 1 0
  • It would be possible by building a couple of bridges and a tunnel. And the railway lines, of course: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait_crossi...

    Otherwise, in a sense, that's already done - a lot of rail transport is containers anyways, so transferring those containers by ship liberates the rolling stock for other tasks. Even with a short crossing, you'd have the cars out of service for a couple of weeks.

    Markus Imhof 4 months ago 0 0
  • i very much doubt it.

    ravenhill 4 months ago 0 0