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Encyclopedia > Cardinal (Amtrak)

The Cardinal is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the Midwestern and Northeastern United States. It runs three days a week, from Chicago, Illinois (Union Station) to New York, New York (Penn Station) via Indianapolis, Indiana, Cincinnati, Ohio and Washington, D.C.. The Hoosier State provides service the other four days on the part from Chicago to Indianapolis.

The Cardinal was previously named the James Whitcomb Riley, also operated by Amtrak. The Cardinal (Train 51 westbound and train 50 eastbound) runs on the tracks of freight railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern, and on Amtrak's own rails in the Northeast Corridor.

In addition to the Cardinal, two other trains (Lake Shore Limited and Three Rivers) connect Chicago to New York, and one other (Capitol Limited) connects Chicago to Washington. However, Amtrak has plans to discontinue the Three Rivers west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 1, 2005.

Cardinal and Hoosier State passengers may ride in spacious reserved Coach seating. Cardinal passengers may also choose to reserve First Class Viewliner Sleeping Car accommodations.

An Eastbound ride

Heading eastward, the train rolls from Chicago to Indianapolis, then southeasterly to the skyline of Cincinnati. It then crosses the mighty Ohio River into Kentucky, and travels almost due east along the banks, stopping at the quaint towns of Maysville and Ashland.

The train crosses into West Virginia, the Mountain State, and stops at Huntington and then stops in South Charleston, west Virginia, across the Kanawha River from Charleston, the state capitol.

As the train moves along the Kanawha and New River valleys, you will see the wild white-water rivers of West Virginia as they can only be seen by train, including a stop at historic Sewell, West Virginia.

After a stop at historic White Sulphur Springs, the train crosses the Eastern Continental Divide through the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel into Virginia, stopping at Clifton Forge and Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley, and crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains to Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia.

Continuing through Virgina's Piedmont region, as night begins to fall, you will see the gently rolling hills of horse country, arriving in Washington, DC at Union Station.

From Washington, the Cardinal follows Amtrak's own Northeast Corridor through Maryland to Baltimore, and on to Wilmington, Delaware, the Chemical Capital of the world.

It is only a short distance further to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the City of Brotherly Love. Crossing into New Jersey, the Garden State, the train makes stops at Trenton and Newark before reaching New York City's famed Penn Station.


For service east of Washington, see Northeast Corridor. Cardinal trains stop only at these stations:

This line is also served by Crescent trains north of Charlottesville.

In the table below, CD is Cardinal service, CS is Crescent, and HS is Hoosier State. VRE Manassas Line service is also shown.

State Milepost City Station Amtrak Other Connections
DC 0 Washington Union Station CD CS VRE MARC Brunswick Line, Camden Line and Penn Line, WMATA Red Line, Amtrak Northeast Corridor continues north
Thruway Motorcoach service (Greyhound Lines) to Dulles Airport, Warrenton and Charlottesville
CP Virginia
QL137.1 L'Enfant VRE WMATA Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line and Yellow Line
QL138.5 state line
VA Crystal City VRE WMATA Blue Line and Yellow Line
CFP104.6 Alexandria CD CS VRE WMATA Blue Line and Yellow Line
VRE Fredericksburg Line splits, along with Amtrak Carolinian, Palmetto, Regional and Silver Service
Backlick Road VRE
Rolling Road VRE
Burke Centre VRE
Manassas Park VRE
Manassas CD CS VRE
Broad Run Airport VRE
Culpeper CD CS
Charlottesville CD CS Amtrak Crescent splits
Thruway Motorcoach (James River Bus Lines) to Richmond Staples Mill Road Station
Staunton CD
Clifton Forge CD
WV White Sulphur Springs CD
Alderson CD
Hinton CD
Prince CD
Thurmond CD
Montgomery CD
Charleston CD
Huntington CD
KY Ashland CD
South Portsmouth-South Shore CD
Maysville CD
OH Cincinnati Union Terminal CD Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Chicago Union Station on days the Cardinal doesn't run
Hamilton CD
IN Connersville CD
Indianapolis CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Louisville
Thruway Motorcoach (Burlington Trailways) to Crawfordsville, Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria Airport, Galesburg, Moline and Davenport
Crawfordsville CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Burlington Trailways) to Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria Airport, Galesburg, Moline and Davenport
Lafayette CD HS
Rensselaer CD HS
Dyer CD HS
IL Chicago Union Station CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Van Galder Bus Lines) to Rockford, South Beloit, Janesville, and two stops in Madison
Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Cincinnati on days the Cardinal doesn't run
Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Indianapolis and Louisville

External links

  • Amtrak - Cardinal/Hoosier State (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Route/Horizontal_Route_Page&c=am2Route&cid=1081256321680&ssid=134)

  Results from FactBites:
Cardinal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (193 words)
The word cardinal comes from the Latin cardo for "hinge" and usually refers to things of fundamental importance, as in cardinal rule or cardinal sins.
Cardinal (Catholicism), a member of the College of Cardinals of the Catholic Church
Cardinal, Virginia, a settlement in Mathews County, Virginia
  More results at FactBites »



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