02 January 2011

Amtrak Service and Fares # 4 – Routes – Long distance trains – Eastern (Chicago to the east coast)

In my last post you read about Amtrak’s long-distance services from the west coast to Chicago and New Orleans.

Here you’ll see Amtrak’s three long-distance overnight trains from Chicago to the east coast.  One other train that operates west-to-east in a diagonal route from New Orleans to New York, the Crescent, was covered earlier in the north-to-south long-distance trains.

CARDINAL (trains 50 / 51)

The Cardinal operates on a rather circuitous route between Chicago and New York.  Major cities it calls on include Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Charleston, W.V., Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia.  It’s not a large city, but it also stops in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., location of the celebrated Greenbrier resort.

The Cardinal, like the Sunset Limited, is a long-distance train that unfortunately only operates three times per week each direction.

Scenery along the way can be quite pretty as the train traverses the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and through the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains.

CAPITOL  LIMITED (trains 29 / 30)

The Capitol Limited’s run to Washington, D.C. is more direct and thus faster, than that of the Cardinal, and it is a daily train.  The large cities it stops at include Toledo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.  The best scenery is nearest to Washington, D.C. in the Potomac Valley.

LAKE SHORE LIMITED (trains 48 / 49 and 448 / 449)

The Lake Shore Limited is another train that splits (or combines) to serve two destinations.

Eastbound the train begins in Chicago traveling overnight to Albany, N.Y., where it splits into two sections: train 48 heads south along the Hudson River to New York, but train 448 continues east to Boston.  Operating westbound, train 49 originates in New York, while train 449 begins in Boston.  In Albany, the two sections are combined into one train that runs overnight to Chicago.

Besides the train’s three endpoints, the other principal cities served include Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse.

The best scenery is along the Hudson River in New York and in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.

The next post in the Amtrak Service and Fares series will cover short-distance (not overnight) corridors in the east and Midwest.

Amtrak Service and Fares - navigational links
Backward to Routes - Long-distance trains - Western (Pacific coast to Chicago and New Orleans)
Forward to Routes - Short-distance trains - Eastern

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