The Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited are two of Amtrak’s long-distance routes that travel between Chicago and New York City. Trains on both routes have sleeper cars, coach cars, a café car and WiFi, but are otherwise very different. The Cardinal only operates three days each week and has many more stops — so if you want the fastest route between Chicago and New York City, book tickets on the Lake Shore Limited.
The Lake Shore Limited also stops in Boston and has more water views (including the Erie Canal and Hudson River) than the Cardinal, which travels through mountains and valleys in West Virginia and Virginia.
Learn more about each Amtrak route below.
|Cardinal||Lake Shore Limited|
|Route Length||1,146 miles||~1,000 miles|
|Frequency||3x per week||Daily|
|Number of Stops||36||20 (NYC segment)|
22 (Boston segment)
|Type of Train||Viewliner||Viewliner|
|Dining Options||Café and free meals for |
sleeper car passengers
|Café and free meals for sleeper car passengers|
|States on the Route||IL, IN, OH, KY, WV, VA, |
MD, DE, PA, NJ, NY
|IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, MA|
|End-of-the Line Stations||Chicago and New York City||Chicago, NYC, Boston|
|Popular Stops||Chicago, Indianapolis, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, NYC||Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Boston, New York City|
|Landscapes||Midwest farmland, Alleghany Mountains, New River Gorge, Shenandoah Valley||Midwest farmland, Lake Erie, Erie Canal, Hudson River Valley|
- 9 best Amtrak trips on the East Coast
- 7 top attractions along the Cardinal route
- Lake Shore Limited vs Capitol Limited
Top photo credit: jpmueller99/Flickr.com (Cardinal train in West Virginia)