If you’re looking for railroad containers for sale, we’ll walk you through all you need to know. Plus, learn about the container types used for intermodal transport, and how to get them at the best prices from reputable suppliers here.  

Rail is a fast, reliable and safe method of transporting cargo – especially large and bulky goods. It’s also much more environmentally friendly than shipping via ocean or air. If you’re interested in using rail transport to move freight, the first step is to get the containers you need at prices that suit you.

Not sure where to find equipment from reliable suppliers? We’ve got you covered. Container xChange is an online marketplace for trading and leasing shipping containers in over 2,500+ locations worldwide. 

Browse and compare 100,000+ offers on our platform right now. Simply add the container type you’re looking for, plus the location and condition below. Then hit ‘search’ to get started!

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    Types of railroad containers for sale and their prices

    The type of cargo you’ll be transporting, as well as the quantity will determine which container type and size you’ll need for shipping. Here are some of the standard and special containers commonly used for railroads.

    20ft and 40ft dry containers 

    Standard 20ft and 40ft containers are two of the most popular containers for the intermodal transportation of dry cargo. So if you want to move anything from paper and grains to clothing and electronics, opt for one of these two for your freight.

    Buy a cargo-worthy 20ft container in the US on Container xChange for US $1,325, and a 40ft for US $1,605

    Think you can get a better deal? On our platform, negotiate directly with suppliers to make sure you settle on a deal you’re 100% happy with. Find standard containers at the best prices on xChange right now.

    53ft HC ISO shipping containers 

    53ft high cubes are the older siblings of 20ft, 40ft and 40ft high cube containers. They’re the biggest units on the market, built for extra large shipments of dry goods, as well as bulky cargo like vehicles and machinery. 

    So how much can you expect to pay for one of these? A new 53ft high cube container in the US will cost you around US $9,853 on our platform.

    Want 53ft high cubes in other areas? We’ve got containers in 2,500+ locations around the world. Start browsing offers for your rail freight needs on xChange right here.

    Open-top containers 

    Open top containers are special units that come without a fixed roof. They’re perfect for transporting tall or oddly-shaped cargo that won’t fit in a standard unit with a fixed roof. Open tops also come with a detachable tarpaulin sheet, which keeps cargo protected from sun damage, storms and other extreme weather. 

    As open tops are special containers, you can expect them to come at a higher price than standard dry units. For a cargo-worthy 40ft open top in the US, you’re looking at US $5,416 on our platform. 

    Want to find 40ft open top containers in other regions? Don’t miss out, find open top deals in your city today.

    Flat rack containers 

    Flat racks are another type of specialized equipment, designed to move oddly shaped, extra large or tall cargo. Lashing rings are used to secure goods tightly during transport, preventing them from shifting or getting damaged. 

    40ft flat rack container

    Need flat racks for your out-of-gauge cargo? Buy a used 40ft flat rack on xChange for around US $6,600.

    If flat racks are the answer to your oddly shaped or extra-large cargo woes, you’re in luck! Find special containers in various sizes and conditions, at negotiable prices on our platform.

    Now that we know about the most commonly used container types for freight rail and their prices, let’s find out more about double-stacking, a popular form of transporting containers via rail. 

    Which containers are better for double-stack rail transport? 

    ‘Double-stacking’ is a method of intermodal transportation in which two units are stacked on top of each other on a rail car. In this way, twice the amount of cargo can be transported in one shipment – so convenient! 

    Invented in the United States, this form of rail transport is used for the bulk of intermodal shipments. Naturally, it’s more cost-effective than the single-layer method.

    Rail freight

    In the US, special rail cars called ‘well cars; are used for double-stack transport. These cars are designed to reduce damage and protect containers during intermodal transportation. 

    Various container sizes can be used for double-stacking, including standard 20ft and 40ft units. However, they must be packed in specific patterns: 

    • Two 20fts at the bottom and one 40ft (or longer) in the upper stack (allowed in India, China & the US)
    • One 40ft at the bottom and another 40ft (or longer) in the upper stack (allowed in India & the US)
    • Two 20fts at the bottom and another set of two 20fts in the upper stack

    With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major rail routes around the world, and how much you’ll be shelling out along these stretches

    Four major railroad routes around the world

    Although there are hundreds of rail networks around the globe, we’ll focus on four of the largest and most commonly used routes in this blog post.

    The Transcontinental route in the US 

    In the US, a transcontinental railroad is any line connecting a location on the Pacific Coast with one or more railroads operating between the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers and the Atlantic Coast.

    This includes the California Southern Railroad, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, the Northern Pacific Railway and the Southern Pacific Railroad.

    Curious to find out more about the pick-up charges for stretches along these rail routes? Our team of experts is always happy to help. Get in touch with us today.

    The Silk Road route between China and Europe  

    The Chongqing–Xinjiang–Europe railway links China to the West. This route begins at Dzungarian Gate in Kazakhstan and moves through Russia, Belarus and Poland before arriving in Duisburg, Germany. 

    To transport goods from Chongqing, China to Duisburg, Germany in a 40ft dry container, you’re looking at a pick-up charge of around US $1,355 on Container xChange, as well as an average of 60 free days and per diem charges of US $5.

    The Trans-Siberian route in Russia

    The Trans-Siberian route is the longest rail system in the world, running from Moscow all the way to Vladivostok. 

    To move goods from Moscow to Vladivostok, pick-up charges are around US $385. The average number of free days is 40, and the per diem charges are US $7 on average.

    The European Rail Freight Corridors

    Currently, there are nine European Rail Freight Corridors, including the Rhine-Alpine corridor, the Mediterranean corridor and the North Sea-Baltic sea corridor, among others. 

    Moving a 20ft dry container via rail between Italy and Germany will cost you around US $1,000 in pick-up charges on Container xChange.

    Want to move cargo along one of these major rail routes? Browse container leasing rates and trading prices on one single platform, hassle-free! Click below to find deals that suit your budget and criteria now.

    Buy rail containers

    Things to keep in mind before buying intermodal containers for rail

    Before purchasing containers for freight rail, there are some important things to keep in mind. The first is the price you should shell out. We’ll tell you how to keep up-to-date with the latest container prices in a few minutes. So that you can make informed trading decisions.

    Besides this, you’ll also need to choose between new and used (cargo-worthy) containers. Here’s a quick breakdown of when it’s best to opt for new and when it’s best to opt for used:

    New vs used

    Planning on using containers long-term? Then new units are ideal for you. If maintained properly, a new container can last up to 25 years, so it’s a great investment. You also won’t have to do any maintenance on a new unit before you can start using it. The downside? You guessed it – new is much pricier than used. 

    Used containers are perfect if your budget is tighter, and you don’t mind a container with a few dents and scratches. Second-hand containers are also great for storage when you don’t need them for shipping, so they’re dual-purpose. 

    How to buy shipping containers for rail in 4 easy steps

    If you’re wondering about the process of buying shipping containers on xChange, all will be revealed in this section. Don’t worry, on our platform you can find the right container for your needs in just four easy steps. Let’s dive into them now.

    Define your criteria

    Before you do anything else, make sure you’ve decided on the following:

    • The container type and size you need
    • The condition you want
    • The price you’re willing to shell out
    • The location you want to buy shipping containers in

    When you’ve got all of this sorted, it’s time to hop onto Container xChange and get started.

    Browse and compare container offers

    Once you’re on the platform, input your search criteria to see available offers that match your requirements. Here you’ll be able to browse offer prices, as well as the container condition and the supplier. 

    Container trading

    Curious to learn more about who you’ll be buying from? Check out the partner’s profile on our website to see their reviews and ratings. 

    Finalize the deal

    When you’ve found an offer that suits you, it’s time to connect directly with the supplier to negotiate the price and discuss all the finer details. That’s right, it’s just you and the partner finalizing the deal together, no fuss, no middlemen involved!

    Make secure payments with the xChange Wallet

    When everything is done and dusted, and both parties are happy, it’s time to pay for your containers. 

    If this part usually leaves you worried, you can put those days behind you. On xChange, all payments can be made through the xChange Wallet, which is 100% safe and secure. Plus, manage all of your finances in one place – convenience at its best!

    Find up-to-date container price data in 180+ locations

    If you struggle to find accurate, up-to-date container price data in your usual sourcing channels, stop your search. Welcome to xChange Insights, where you can access the latest prices and leasing rates in over 180+ locations globally. Anytime, from anywhere. 

    Insights platform

    On Insights, simply login to check out the most up-to-date prices for the container types you’re looking for. Use this data to spot good deals and avoid being overcharged. 

    Plus, check out the cheapest locations to buy containers in, and the most lucrative areas to sell in order to make profits. 

    Finally, complete price transparency is at your fingertips. The best part? You can sign up for Insights completely free today – no commitment, no strings attached!

    Get the best railroad container deals on Container xChange

    So now you know which container types are suitable for railroad, the prices you can expect to shell out, and how to keep up-to-date with the latest price data. What’s more, you’ve learnt what you need to keep in mind before shelling out on equipment. All that’s left to do is join Container xChange to start getting the units you need.

    Here are some of the benefits of becoming a member: 

    • Negotiable prices and 0% commission on all shipping container deals
    • Access to 50,000+ containers in over 2,500 locations worldwide
    • Work directly with 1,500+ vetted and pre-approved partners

    If you’re ready to join xChange right away, schedule your free demo with one of our experts today. You’ll get a personalized tour and a chance to see how our platform can work for you. You’ll be buying containers for rail at the best prices, from reliable suppliers in no time at all!

    Buy railroad containers

    Railroad containers for sale: Common FAQs

    What is a railroad container?

    A railroad container is a shipping container that fits the dimension requirements to transport cargo via rail. Standard 20ft, 40ft, 40ft high cube and 53ft high cube containers are all commonly used for rail transport.

    How much is a 40ft shipping container?

    The price of a standard 40ft shipping container varies based on the container condition, location and current market situation. For a cargo-worthy (used) 40ft container in the US, you’re looking at US $1,605.

    How much does a shipping container cost?

    The price of shipping containers fluctuates constantly. This is due to various factors including the container condition and current supply and demand. A cargo-worthy 20ft dry container in the US will cost you US $1,325 and a 40ft, US $1,605.