The Cardinal Amtrak route travels between New York and Chicago (through DC) three times each week. Farmland, rolling hills, historic small towns, rivers and mountains stretch between two of America’s largest cities. On board, enjoy new flexible dining service for sleeper car passengers as well as a cafe.


View the Amtrak timetable for the Cardinal to plan your trip. You can also view current schedules via Google Maps or when booking your tickets. Things to know:

  • Trains depart early from New York’s Penn Station (around 6 a.m.)
  • At the other end of the line, Chicago departures are 5:45 p.m.
  • Chicago is in Central Time Zone, one hour off from the other cities on the route


As one writer put it, The Cardinal Is One of Amtrak’s Most Scenic Rides, especially with its journey through the New River Gorge and Shanandoah Valley in the eastern part of the route. TripAdvisor reviewers note:

  • The Cardinal is popular in the fall with the autumn colors, so be sure to book roomettes in advance if that’s your preferred accommodation type
  • Slower going eastbound as there tends to be delays due to freight rail
  • The Capitol Limited train also travels between the east coast and Chicago and is about 300 miles shorter as another option

Major Stops

  • Chicago
  • Indianapolis
  • Cincinnati
  • Charleston, WV
  • Alexandria
  • Washington DC
  • Baltimore
  • Philadelphia
  • Newark
  • New York City



  • Chicago Loop
  • Willis Tower
  • Purdue University
  • Lucas Oil Stadium
  • Indiana Convention Center
  • Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Ohio River
  • Maysville, KY (settled by Daniel Boone)
  • New River Gorge
  • Hinton Historic District
  • The Greenbrier (golf resort with casino)
  • Allegheny Mountains
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Shenandoah Valley
  • C&O Railroad Heritage Center
  • Staunton, VA (birthplace of Woodrow Wilson)
  • University of Virginia
  • Alexandria/Old Town
  • U.S. Capitol Building
  • Washington D.C. museums
  • Delaware History Museum
  • Delaware Children’s Museum
  • The Delaware Contemporary Art Gallery
  • Wilmington Rowing Center
  • Drexel University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Manhattan
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Empire State Building

More Information

All Amtrak Routes
Amtrak travel: 5 things to know
7 top attractions along the Cardinal route