Taking The Train From Des Moines To Chicago: A Comprehensive Guide

Traveling by train between Des Moines and Chicago can be a relaxing and scenic journey. If you’re looking for a quick answer, Amtrak operates daily service along this route with travel times around 7-8 hours each way.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide all the key details you need to plan your train trip between Des Moines and Chicago. We’ll cover scheduling and ticket options, the train stations at both ends, what to expect onboard, and tips for saving money.

Amtrak Train Schedule and Tickets

Overview of daily train schedule and options

When planning a trip from Des Moines to Chicago, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Amtrak train schedule. Amtrak offers daily train service between these two cities, providing travelers with a convenient and comfortable way to reach their destination.

The train schedule typically includes multiple departure times throughout the day, allowing passengers to choose a time that best fits their travel plans. Whether you prefer an early morning departure or a late evening arrival, there are options available to accommodate your schedule.

Amtrak trains offer a variety of amenities to make your journey enjoyable. From spacious seating to onboard Wi-Fi, you can relax and make the most of your travel time. Additionally, some trains offer dining options, allowing you to grab a bite to eat during your journey.

Coach class vs business class tickets

When booking your Amtrak tickets, you’ll have the option to choose between coach class and business class. Understanding the differences between these ticket types can help you make an informed decision.

Coach class tickets are the more affordable option and provide comfortable seating with ample legroom. You’ll have access to amenities such as power outlets and Wi-Fi, allowing you to stay connected during your trip.

Business class tickets, on the other hand, offer additional perks such as priority boarding, extra legroom, and complimentary onboard snacks and beverages.

Ultimately, the choice between coach class and business class comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, coach class tickets are a great choice. However, if you value added comfort and amenities, upgrading to business class may be worth considering.

How and when to book tickets for best prices

Booking your Amtrak tickets at the right time can help you secure the best prices for your journey. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Book in advance: Amtrak typically releases tickets up to 11 months in advance, so booking early can often result in lower prices.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates: Prices may vary depending on the day of the week or time of year. Consider traveling during off-peak times to take advantage of lower fares.
  • Check for promotions: Amtrak occasionally offers promotions and discounts, so be sure to keep an eye out for any special deals that may be available.
  • Consider alternative routes: Exploring alternative routes or connecting trains may offer savings on your ticket price.

It’s also worth noting that Amtrak offers a rewards program called Amtrak Guest Rewards. By joining the program, you can earn points every time you travel, which can be redeemed for future trips or other rewards.

To book your Amtrak tickets, you can visit the official Amtrak website at www.amtrak.com or use their mobile app. These platforms provide a user-friendly interface where you can easily search for available trains, compare prices, and make your reservations.

By following these tips and utilizing the resources provided by Amtrak, you can ensure that you secure the best prices for your train journey from Des Moines to Chicago.

Boarding in Des Moines

Des Moines station location and amenities

When boarding a train from Des Moines to Chicago, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Des Moines station. Located in the heart of downtown at 100 E. 7th Street, the station offers convenient access for travelers.

The station is equipped with various amenities to enhance your travel experience. From comfortable seating areas to restrooms and vending machines, you’ll find everything you need to make your journey enjoyable.

The station also provides free Wi-Fi, allowing you to stay connected during your time at the station.

Arriving early and boarding process

Arriving early at the Des Moines station is always a good idea to ensure a smooth boarding process. Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time to allow for check-in and any last-minute preparations.

As you arrive, make sure to have your ticket and identification readily available. This will help expedite the boarding process and ensure a timely departure.

Once at the station, follow the signs and announcements to the designated boarding area. The staff at the station will guide you through the process and assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Boarding typically begins around 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

Be sure to listen for announcements and pay attention to boarding calls to ensure you don’t miss your train.

For more information on the Des Moines station and its amenities, you can visit their official website here.

The Train Journey

Embarking on a train journey from Des Moines to Chicago is not just a means of transportation; it is an experience that offers breathtaking scenery and a chance to relax and unwind. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or someone looking for a new adventure, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need for a smooth and enjoyable train journey.

Route and scenery overview

The route from Des Moines to Chicago takes you through the heartland of America, showcasing the picturesque landscapes of the Midwest. As the train chugs along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of rolling hills, expansive farmlands, and charming small towns.

The changing seasons add a touch of magic to the journey, with vibrant fall foliage or snow-covered fields creating a postcard-worthy backdrop.

For those who appreciate nature’s beauty, this train journey is a feast for the eyes. Keep your camera handy to capture the scenic vistas, and don’t forget to take a moment to simply soak in the tranquility of the surroundings.

Onboard seating, dining, and amenities

When it comes to onboard comfort, the trains running from Des Moines to Chicago offer a range of seating options to suit various preferences and budgets. From spacious reclining seats to private cabins, there’s something for everyone.

Kick back and relax in your seat, enjoying the smooth ride and panoramic views passing by.

During the journey, you’ll have access to a variety of dining options, ensuring that you won’t go hungry. From grab-and-go snacks to full-service dining cars, you can satisfy your cravings and indulge in delicious meals along the way.

Sit down, savor the flavors, and let the gentle rocking of the train enhance your dining experience.

Additionally, modern trains are equipped with amenities to make your journey more comfortable. Many trains offer WiFi connectivity, allowing you to stay connected with loved ones or catch up on work while on the move.

Power outlets are also available, ensuring that your devices stay charged throughout the journey.

Connecting to WiFi and power outlets

Staying connected is important, even while enjoying the scenic train journey. Most trains provide complimentary WiFi access for passengers, allowing you to browse the internet, check emails, or stream your favorite movies and shows.

Simply connect to the train’s WiFi network and enjoy uninterrupted connectivity throughout the trip.

To keep your devices fully charged, power outlets are conveniently located near the seating areas. Whether you need to charge your phone, laptop, or any other electronic device, you can easily plug in and ensure that you stay powered up throughout the journey.

It’s worth noting that while most trains offer WiFi and power outlets, it’s always a good idea to bring a portable charger or backup battery, just in case. This way, you can enjoy a worry-free journey without any interruptions to your connectivity or entertainment.

For more detailed information on train schedules, fares, and other important details, be sure to visit the official website of the train service operating the Des Moines to Chicago route.

Arriving in Chicago

Chicago Union Station location and services

Chicago Union Station is the main transportation hub in the heart of downtown Chicago. Located at 225 S Canal St, it serves as a major gateway for travelers arriving by train. The station is a historic landmark and an architectural masterpiece, known for its stunning Beaux-Arts design.

Inside the station, you’ll find a range of amenities and services to make your arrival in Chicago comfortable and convenient. There are various ticketing counters and self-service kiosks where you can purchase tickets or get information about train schedules.

The station also has a waiting area with seating, restrooms, and free Wi-Fi access for passengers.

If you’re feeling hungry or in need of a quick bite, Chicago Union Station offers several dining options. From grab-and-go cafes to sit-down restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every palate. You can also find shops selling books, magazines, souvenirs, and other travel essentials within the station.

Getting into the city from the station

Once you’ve arrived at Chicago Union Station, you’ll have several options for getting into the city and reaching your final destination. The station is conveniently located near various modes of transportation, making it easy to explore Chicago and its surrounding areas.

If you prefer public transportation, the station is connected to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) network. You can catch a CTA train or bus from nearby stops to reach different neighborhoods and attractions in the city.

The CTA system is extensive and efficient, offering a convenient way to navigate Chicago.

Another option is to take a taxi or use a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft. There are designated pick-up points outside the station where you can easily hail a cab or request a ride. Taxis and ride-sharing services provide a more direct and personalized transportation experience.

If you’re planning to rent a car during your stay in Chicago, there are several car rental companies located near Chicago Union Station. You can easily pick up your rental vehicle and hit the road to explore the city and its surrounding areas at your own pace.

For those who prefer walking, many of Chicago’s iconic attractions are within walking distance from the station. The downtown area is pedestrian-friendly, with well-maintained sidewalks and plenty of crosswalks.

You can take a leisurely stroll and discover the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, parks, and landmarks.

Tips for Saving Money and Enjoying Your Trip

Off-peak travel dates for lower fares

If you’re looking to save some money on your train journey from Des Moines to Chicago, consider traveling during off-peak times. These are typically weekdays outside of rush hours. Not only will you be able to find lower fares, but you’ll also enjoy a more peaceful and less crowded train ride.

Plus, you might even get lucky and have a whole row of seats to yourself!

Discount rail passes and loyalty programs

If you plan on taking the train frequently or if you’re traveling with a group, it might be worth looking into discount rail passes or loyalty programs. These can offer significant savings on your ticket prices and even provide additional perks such as priority boarding or access to exclusive lounges.

Be sure to check with the train operator for any available discounts or loyalty programs that you can take advantage of.

What to bring onboard for comfort

When embarking on a train journey, it’s essential to pack a few items to ensure your comfort throughout the trip. Firstly, bring a cozy blanket or a light jacket, as train temperatures can sometimes vary.

Additionally, consider bringing a small pillow or neck rest for added comfort during longer rides. Don’t forget to bring some entertainment, such as a book, tablet, or headphones, to keep yourself occupied during the journey.

Cafe car food and drink options

One of the great perks of traveling by train is the availability of a cafe car, where you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing beverage. The cafe car usually offers a variety of food options, including sandwiches, salads, snacks, and hot meals.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or a full meal, the cafe car has got you covered. Don’t forget to indulge in a cup of freshly brewed coffee or a cold beverage to quench your thirst along the way.


Taking the train between Des Moines and Chicago is an easy and scenic option that avoids the hassle of airports. This guide covers everything you need to know to plan your trip. With some advance planning, you can find discounted fares and make the most of the onboard amenities. Enjoy the relaxing journey and change of pace from driving or flying.

Safe travels on your upcoming train trip between Des Moines and Chicago!

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