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How Tesla ships by rail to East coast

Koolio46

Member
Aug 26, 2020
476
197
Boston, MA
Ok, so I've been geeking out over how my MY is being shipped by rail to the East coast and thought I'd share what I've found for those of you who are also waiting.

The below info is by no means definitive since I've put it together based on what I've heard from my SA and what others have been told by their SA. Here's the data "input" I used:
  • Tesla ships by rail from Fremont to the East coast. It seems like they use either or both Union Pacific (UP) and BNSF.
  • My SA told me my vehicle will be shipped by rail to Chicago, then truck to MA.
  • For those in southeastern U.S., I've read others being told their MY is shipped via rail to Birmingham, AL, then truck to their SC.
  • My MY was last pinged in Milpitas, CA...which is where UP has a rail yard for loading and transporting vehicles by rail.
The "output" / results based on this info:
  • The rail yard in Milpitas, CA is operated by Union Pacific (map)
  • BNSF has a rail yard in Richmond, CA (see PDF for their rail routes for shipping vehicles in the US and Mexico)
  • List of automotive loading/unloading rail locations in the U.S. You'll find "Tesla" listed on here as well as the Milpitas, CA location.
This is all a long way of saying: if you want to see the potential route your MY is taking from Fremont, this gives you an idea. And, if your SA tells you, "your car was last pinged in Milpitas, CA", this most likely means it's waiting to be loaded onto a train to be shipped.
 

Attachments

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Koolio46

Member
Aug 26, 2020
476
197
Boston, MA
Good to know for others in the tri-state area waiting for their cars.
I’m guessing mine isn’t on one of those trucks since it wouldn’t make sense to truck then from Chicago through NJ to MA.
 

M0del Yada

Member
Jun 23, 2020
58
18
Florida
When I stalked my SC a couple days before my delivery, there was a row of 17 MYs (mine included) all still wrapped. They all had "AL" written on the windshield in wax pen. I assumed that was how they marked them for rail to Birmingham, AL.
 

Koolio46

Member
Aug 26, 2020
476
197
Boston, MA
When I stalked my SC a couple days before my delivery, there was a row of 17 MYs (mine included) all still wrapped. They all had "AL" written on the windshield in wax pen. I assumed that was how they marked them for rail to Birmingham, AL.

That’s one way to mark the destination for each car. Ha ha

Did your SC know yours was one of the 17?
 
Aug 15, 2020
108
44
Georgia

Ferrex is better than Iron X but it will get that rail dust off your car. My Model Y is probably the cleanest one in the south I’m sure!
D020DAE6-1AAD-4CD0-A855-7C35BD331C9D.jpeg
 
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richmond-MY

Member
Sep 5, 2020
30
6
Richmond, VA
Does anyone understand how Telsa makes decisions about when cars leave the railyard by truck?

I ask because I'm in the current situation: I ordered my MY on 8/30. SA told me the car was shipped by rail on 9/4. A coworker ordered his M3 on 9/3 and it was shipped by rail on 9/8. We were both scheduled for pickup on 9/22 (which made sense to me since they were likely on the same delivery truck.

However, on 9/21, I received a call from the SC saying my vehicle was still in Alabama and wouldn't be available for pickup until "probably" 9/25 or 9/26 due to "awaiting truck routing."

My coworker picked up his M3 yesterday (9/22) as originally scheduled. The SA who advised me of my delay wasn't able to provide very much info other than the car was delayed and that the truck from AL to VA is about 1 day once it's on the road.

How does Tesla decide which cars go on the truck first?
 
Oct 20, 2019
59
38
South Carolina
Does anyone understand how Telsa makes decisions about when cars leave the railyard by truck?

I ask because I'm in the current situation: I ordered my MY on 8/30. SA told me the car was shipped by rail on 9/4. A coworker ordered his M3 on 9/3 and it was shipped by rail on 9/8. We were both scheduled for pickup on 9/22 (which made sense to me since they were likely on the same delivery truck.

However, on 9/21, I received a call from the SC saying my vehicle was still in Alabama and wouldn't be available for pickup until "probably" 9/25 or 9/26 due to "awaiting truck routing."

My coworker picked up his M3 yesterday (9/22) as originally scheduled. The SA who advised me of my delay wasn't able to provide very much info other than the car was delayed and that the truck from AL to VA is about 1 day once it's on the road.

How does Tesla decide which cars go on the truck first?

Wish I knew! My MY has been in AL as well since at least the middle of last week. My SA called me Monday and said the car wasn't there and we needed to push delivery to 9/25. Now when I check my Tesla account, my delivery date has switched from the 9/22 date to "Estimated Delivery 3-5 weeks from order date". My SA had told me it would take 24 hours from Monday afternoon to update to the new delivery date, so not really sure why it didn't just update to my actually time and date. I'll be calling them when they open to make sure they didn't mess something up.
 
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M0del Yada

Member
Jun 23, 2020
58
18
Florida
Does anyone understand how Telsa makes decisions about when cars leave the railyard by truck?

I ask because I'm in the current situation: I ordered my MY on 8/30. SA told me the car was shipped by rail on 9/4. A coworker ordered his M3 on 9/3 and it was shipped by rail on 9/8. We were both scheduled for pickup on 9/22 (which made sense to me since they were likely on the same delivery truck.

However, on 9/21, I received a call from the SC saying my vehicle was still in Alabama and wouldn't be available for pickup until "probably" 9/25 or 9/26 due to "awaiting truck routing."

My coworker picked up his M3 yesterday (9/22) as originally scheduled. The SA who advised me of my delay wasn't able to provide very much info other than the car was delayed and that the truck from AL to VA is about 1 day once it's on the road.

How does Tesla decide which cars go on the truck first?

It's not as simple as putting your car on a truck and sending it on its way.

There is a very complex logistics system behind the scenes. The idea is to have a full trailer when it leaves the rail yard. This is followed by taking the most efficient route to the vehicle's destination(s). But before any of that, the job must be accepted by the 3rd party carrier, dispatched, and a driver/trailer available. Remember, the carrier is hoping to make the most profit on the job. They don't care how long you've been checking your tesla account for an update to delivery day.

For example, I mentioned in an earlier post that when I checked my service center a couple days before delivery date, I saw 17 MYs all still wrapped sitting in a row in the empty lot behind the SC. Most likely these arrived together on 2 trailers from Alabama vs 1 or 2 at a time.
 
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Koolio46

Member
Aug 26, 2020
476
197
Boston, MA
Does anyone understand how Tesla makes decisions about when cars leave the railyard by truck?

How does Tesla decide which cars go on the truck first?

Really wish we knew the logic for how they load cars at the rail yard. How about one of our Chicago and Birmingham residents drive to the rail yard and take some pics...perhaps, even with a drone? ;)

In the Model Y Reddit thread, someone who used to work in the trucking/shipping industry said the bottleneck has been with the inland trucking; there simply isn't enough trucks and drivers to meet demand from 2017 - 2019. He also mentioned the trucking laws: can only drive 10 hours per day but if they have two drivers per truck, they can switch off and not have to stop overnight.

@SCarolinaM3Guy, yours being stuck at the rail yard in Birmingham would indicate a backlog / bottleneck with trucking. Ugh.
 

richmond-MY

Member
Sep 5, 2020
30
6
Richmond, VA
Got a text in the last hour “....this is Tesla Richmond. There has been a change to your vehicle's scheduled arrival which may possibly affect your scheduled pick-up. Please call Tesla Richmond tomorrow after 10AM”

upon checking website, delivery date has been pushed yet again from 9/25 to 9/27
 
Oct 20, 2019
59
38
South Carolina
Really wish we knew the logic for how they load cars at the rail yard. How about one of our Chicago and Birmingham residents drive to the rail yard and take some pics...perhaps, even with a drone? ;)

In the Model Y Reddit thread, someone who used to work in the trucking/shipping industry said the bottleneck has been with the inland trucking; there simply isn't enough trucks and drivers to meet demand from 2017 - 2019. He also mentioned the trucking laws: can only drive 10 hours per day but if they have two drivers per truck, they can switch off and not have to stop overnight.

@SCarolinaM3Guy, yours being stuck at the rail yard in Birmingham would indicate a backlog / bottleneck with trucking. Ugh.

Was able to get through to a service advisor this evening and he confirmed my MY arrived today, so still on track for a Friday delivery.
 

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