Riding The Rails: Taking The Train From Chicago To Columbus

Looking for an alternative to driving or flying from Chicago to Ohio’s capital city? If you’re in a hurry, here’s the quick rundown: Amtrak operates daily train service between Chicago and Columbus with travel times around 5-6 hours each way.

This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to plan your train trip between these Midwest cities. Learn about routes, schedules, fares, and onboard amenities. Get tips on booking tickets, preparing for your journey, and sightseeing along the way. Whether you want to relax, work remotely, or have an adventure, our insider perspective will help you make the most of your Chicago to Columbus train trip.

Chicago to Columbus Train Options

When it comes to traveling from Chicago to Columbus by train, there are a few options to consider. Two popular train routes that connect these two cities are “The Cardinal” and “The Capitol Limited”. Let’s take a closer look at each of these options.

The Cardinal

The Cardinal is a long-distance Amtrak train that runs between Chicago and New York City, with Columbus being one of its stops along the way. This route offers a scenic and relaxed journey through the heartland of America.

The train departs from Chicago Union Station and arrives at Columbus’ downtown station.

Passengers on The Cardinal can enjoy comfortable seating, onboard amenities such as free Wi-Fi and power outlets, as well as a dining car where they can grab a meal or snack. The train also provides spacious luggage racks for convenience.

One of the highlights of this route is the stunning views of the countryside, as the train passes through picturesque landscapes and charming small towns. It’s a great way to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the Midwest.

To book tickets or learn more about The Cardinal, you can visit the official Amtrak website: https://www.amtrak.com/routes/cardinal-train.html.

The Capitol Limited

The Capitol Limited is another Amtrak train option that connects Chicago with Washington, D.C., and makes a stop in Columbus along the way. This route offers a comfortable and convenient way to travel between these cities.

Similar to The Cardinal, The Capitol Limited provides passengers with comfortable seating, onboard amenities, and a dining car. The train offers a smooth ride and a chance to unwind while enjoying the passing scenery.

In addition to the amenities onboard, The Capitol Limited also has a unique feature called the “Viewliner Roomette”. This private sleeping accommodation allows passengers to rest and relax in their own space during the journey.

To learn more about The Capitol Limited, including schedules and ticket information, you can visit the official Amtrak website: https://www.amtrak.com/routes/capitol-limited-train.html.

Both The Cardinal and The Capitol Limited offer a convenient and comfortable way to travel from Chicago to Columbus. Whether you’re looking for a scenic journey or a relaxing trip, these train options provide an enjoyable experience for passengers.

So, next time you’re planning a trip from Chicago to Columbus, consider hopping on one of these trains and enjoy the ride!

Planning Your Trip

Booking Tickets

When it comes to booking your train tickets from Chicago to Columbus, there are several options available. One of the most convenient ways is to book your tickets online through the official website of the train service.

This allows you to easily compare prices, check availability, and choose your preferred seating options. Another option is to visit a ticket office at the train station and purchase your tickets in person.

Keep in mind that tickets can sell out quickly, especially during peak travel seasons, so it’s best to book in advance to secure your spot.


The train service from Chicago to Columbus offers multiple scheduled departures throughout the day, providing flexibility for travelers. It’s important to check the train’s schedule to ensure you plan your trip accordingly.

Trains typically depart every few hours, allowing you to choose a departure time that aligns with your travel preferences. It’s also a good idea to arrive at the train station a little early to avoid any last-minute rush and ensure a smooth boarding process.

Trip Duration

The duration of the train journey from Chicago to Columbus may vary depending on factors such as train type, stops along the way, and current weather conditions. On average, the trip takes around 6-7 hours, making it a comfortable and enjoyable option for travelers.

During the journey, you’ll have the opportunity to relax, enjoy the scenic views, and even catch up on some work or entertainment using the train’s onboard Wi-Fi. It’s always a good idea to pack some snacks, a book, or any other items that will help you make the most of your travel time.

Onboard Experience


When it comes to seating, passengers on the train from Chicago to Columbus have a variety of options to choose from. Whether you prefer a cozy seat by the window or a spacious seat with extra legroom, the train offers a comfortable and relaxing journey.

Many trains offer both standard seating and upgraded options, allowing passengers to customize their experience to suit their needs. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views as you make your way from Chicago to Columbus.


One of the great things about traveling by train is the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal while onboard. Many trains have dining cars where passengers can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a full-service dining experience.

From fresh salads and sandwiches to hearty entrees and decadent desserts, there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. So whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a leisurely meal, the train from Chicago to Columbus has you covered.

For more information on the dining options available onboard, you can visit the official website of the train service provider www.exampletrainwebsite.com.


When it comes to luggage, passengers can rest assured that their belongings will be safe and secure throughout the journey. Trains typically have designated storage areas where passengers can stow their luggage, allowing for a clutter-free and comfortable travel experience.

Additionally, many trains offer assistance with larger or heavier items, making it easy for passengers to transport their belongings. So pack your bags and bring everything you need for your trip to Columbus – the train has plenty of space for all your luggage.

Stops and Sights Along the Way

When traveling by train from Chicago to Columbus, there are several interesting stops and sights to explore along the way. Two notable cities that passengers will pass through are Indianapolis and Cincinnati.


Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is a vibrant city with a rich history and diverse culture. As the train makes its way through Indianapolis, passengers can catch a glimpse of some of the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home to the famous Indy 500 race.

Sports enthusiasts can also visit the NCAA Hall of Champions, which showcases the history and achievements of college athletics. For art lovers, the Indianapolis Museum of Art offers a wide range of exhibits, from classical to contemporary pieces.

With its bustling downtown area, visitors can also explore a variety of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.


As the train continues on its journey, it passes through the beautiful city of Cincinnati, Ohio. Known for its stunning riverfront views and historic architecture, Cincinnati offers a blend of old-world charm and modern attractions.

One must-visit spot in Cincinnati is the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which is home to a diverse collection of animals and beautifully landscaped gardens. For those interested in history, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center provides an immersive experience that educates visitors about the Underground Railroad and the struggle for freedom.

Additionally, Cincinnati is famous for its chili, and a visit to one of the city’s many chili parlors is a must for food enthusiasts.

Both Indianapolis and Cincinnati offer unique experiences and attractions that are worth exploring during your train journey from Chicago to Columbus. Whether you’re interested in sports, art, history, or delicious food, these cities along the way have something to offer everyone.

Maximizing Comfort and Enjoyment


When it comes to entertainment, taking the train from Chicago to Columbus offers a great variety of options to keep passengers entertained throughout the journey. Many trains now come equipped with Wi-Fi, so travelers can stay connected and browse the internet, catch up on work, or stream their favorite shows and movies.

Additionally, most trains have power outlets at each seat, allowing passengers to keep their devices fully charged.

For those who prefer a more traditional form of entertainment, many trains also have a selection of books and magazines available for passengers to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of mystery novels or prefer flipping through the latest fashion magazines, there’s something for everyone on board.

Furthermore, some trains even have designated entertainment cars where passengers can relax and unwind. These cars often feature comfortable seating, large TVs, and even gaming consoles, providing a fun and entertaining atmosphere for all.


When it comes to accommodations, taking the train from Chicago to Columbus offers a range of options to ensure a comfortable journey. Most trains have both coach and sleeper options available, allowing passengers to choose what suits their needs and preferences.

Coach seats provide ample legroom and are ideal for shorter trips or budget-conscious travelers. On the other hand, sleeper cars offer a more luxurious experience, with private cabins and comfortable beds, perfect for longer journeys or those who prefer a bit more privacy.

Moreover, many trains also have accessible accommodations for passengers with disabilities, including wheelchair-accessible seating and restrooms. This ensures that everyone can enjoy the train journey to Columbus without any inconvenience.


Traveling by train doesn’t mean sacrificing good food. Many trains offer a variety of dining options to satisfy even the most discerning palate. From casual cafes to upscale dining cars, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.

Passengers can enjoy a delicious meal in the dining car, where they can savor a range of freshly prepared dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy steak, a vegetarian delight, or a mouthwatering dessert, the dining car has you covered.

For those who prefer a quick bite or a refreshing drink, there are also snack bars and lounges available on board. Here, passengers can grab a sandwich, a cup of coffee, or even a cocktail while enjoying the scenic views outside the train.

It’s worth noting that some trains even offer special dining experiences, such as wine tastings or themed dinners. These unique culinary offerings add an extra touch of excitement and create lasting memories for passengers.


Traveling between Chicago and Columbus by train is an easy and scenic alternative to driving or flying. With strategic planning for fares, schedules, and onboard amenities, you can have a comfortable, engaging journey at this Midwest railcrossroads. Riding the rails lets you kick back and soak up the heartland’s charm between these two great cities.

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