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Overview: Train from Washington, DC to Chicago

distanceDistance593 miles (956 km)
durationAverage train duration17 h 40 min
priceAverage train ticket price$92 (€77)
frequencyTrain frequency1 a day
changesDirect trainYes, there is 1 direct train a day

Trains from Washington, DC to Chicago cover the 593 miles (956 km) long journey taking on average 17 h 40 min with our travel partners like. Normally, there is 1 train operating per day, including direct services available. You can get the cheapest train tickets for this trip for as low as $88 (€74), but the average price of train tickets is $92 (€77).

Trains from Washington, D.C. to Chicago

Depending on the day of the week you choose to travel, there are a variety of trains available between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois. There are typically four trains per day, all operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation - better known as Amtrak. The routes available are Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Silver Star, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor/Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional/Lake Shore Limited. On Mondays, the earliest train of the day leaves from Union Station in Washington, D.C. around 7:00 a.m. and arrives in Union Station of Chicago around 10:00 a.m. on the next day. This train runs on a combination of Silver Star and Lake Shore Limited.

For every other day of the week, including weekends, the earliest departure is around 10:00 a.m. with an arrival about 10:00 a.m. the following day. The fastest option of the entire week is the Capitol Limited, which completes the journey in about 17h 45min and typically leaves from Washington, D.C. around 4:00 p.m.

Washington, D.C. to Chicago Train Time: Daily Departures

While the total journey duration and departure times can vary throughout the week, there are typically about four trains per day that travel from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. On Mondays, the earliest train of the day leaves from Union Station in Washington, D.C. around 7:00 a.m. and arrives in Union Station of Chicago around 10:00 a.m. on the next day. This train runs on a combination of Silver Star and Lake Shore Limited. For every other day of the week, including weekends, the earliest departure is around 10:00 a.m. with an arrival about 10:00 a.m. the following day. The final train of the day is also the fastest - Capitol Limited, which completes the journey in about 17h 45min and typically leaves from Washington, D.C. around 4:00 p.m.

How long is the journey by train from Washington, D.C. to Chicago?

The total duration of your journey will depend on the train line you ride and your departure time. The fastest option of the entire week is the Capitol Limited, which completes the journey in about 17h 45min and typically leaves from Washington, D.C. around 4:00 p.m. for an arrival in Chicago around 8:45 a.m. This journey does not require any changes. The other lines generally take about 24h to complete the journey, with one change at Penn Station in New York City.

Washington Spring. Source: Shutterstock

What is/are the departure and arrival stations for trains from Washington, D.C. to Chicago?

Departure train station: The departure station for trains from Washington, D.C. to Chicago is Union Station in Washington, D.C. It is located near the National Mall and the U.S. Capitol Building, with connections to the local metro, MARC commuter trains, buses, and taxi or rideshare options. The station offers a food court, restrooms, checked baggage, luggage storage, parking, ticketing counters, and self-service kiosks. The station has connections to WMATA trains to access downtown and the famous Dupont Circle, plus transfers to other trains. You can also take MARC Penn trains to BWI Airport or into downtown Baltimore.

Arrival train station: The arrival station for trains from Washington, D.C. to Chicago is Union Station in Chicago, Illinois. This station is located at 225 South Canal Street in the heart of Downtown Chicago. It offers Wi-Fi, Restrooms, a large food court and shopping options at the mezzanine level, ticket sales offices, bag storage, checked baggage service, and the luxurious Metropolitan Lounge. Note that there is no parking available at the station, so you will need to plan your transit there in advance. The station provides connections to Metra commuter trains, and the two nearest CTA transit stations (which operates the L-Train) are about ten minutes away on foot - Quincy is accessible via the brown, orange, pink and purple lines and Jackson is accessible via the blue line.

Which train companies travel from Washington, D.C. to Chicago?

The only train company providing transportation via train from Washington, D.C. to Chicago is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation - better known as Amtrak. Each of the lines that Amtrak runs throughout North America has a unique name that pays homage to the states and geography that it passes through. Between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Amtrak operates the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Silver Star, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor/Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional/Lake Shore Limited.

Amtrak trains from Washington, D.C. to Chicago

There are typically four trains per day, all operated by Amtrak. The routes available are Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Silver Star, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor/Lake Shore Limited, and Northeast Regional/Lake Shore Limited. Depending on the day of the week you travel, there are a variety of trains available. On Mondays, the earliest train of the day leaves from Union Station in Washington, D.C. around 7:00 a.m. and arrives in Union Station of Chicago around 10:00 a.m. on the next day. This train runs on a combination of Silver Star and Lake Shore Limited. For every other day of the week, including weekends, the earliest departure is around 10:00 a.m. with an arrival about 10:00 a.m. the following day. The fastest option of the entire week is the Capitol Limited, which completes the journey in about 17h 45min and typically leaves from Washington, D.C. around 4:00 p.m.

WashingtonDc_Bloomings. Source: Shutterstock

Train Washington, D.C. to Chicago: Services on Board

When traveling with Amtrak via train from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, you can choose from Coach, Business, or private rooms. Coach is the cheapest option, while Business includes more access to amenities throughout the journey and more room for seating. Private rooms are available for travelers who prefer increased privacy and sleeping bunks. Each passenger can bring two carry-on items and two personal items, either be stored at the end of each coach, above the seats in overhead storage, or beneath your seat.

Folding bicycles under 34 x 15 x 48 inches (86 x 38 x 122 cm) are allowed, but count as a piece of luggage. You can bring full-size bicycles on certain trains with carry-on or trainside service for bikes. They need to be kept at the end of the coach in the luggage storage area. As long as the journey is 7h or less, small dogs and cats are allowed on board for a fee. Passengers with disabilities should contact Amtrak directly and arrange services throughout the journey. There are reduced fares available for companions of travelers with disabilities.

How to find cheap train tickets from Washington, D.C. to Chicago?

As you begin your search for cheap train tickets from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, take advantage of the convenience and reliability of Omio. On the Omio website, you can sort search results according to departure time, duration of travel, and price. The search filters allow you to find tickets with specific providers, departing or arriving at specific stations, and falling under a certain price range.

Once you find a deal that you do not want to let slip away, you may want to book in advance to avoid any price increases as the date of your travel approaches. You can also search multiple travel dates simultaneously, so consider being flexible with your departure and return dates. Trains that are slower or involve more changes are typically less expensive, so if you have the time, that is another way to save money on your journey.

To Chicago by train—travel tips

Back to that same old place...Sweet Home Chicago. As one of the most notable cities in American history, Chicago is known as the Mecca of the Midwest for a reason. Once you step off the train into historic Union Station, you will understand why this metropolis has been featured in so many movies, songs, and television shows. Take a walk (or a run) along Lake Michigan, watch the sun rise over the city skyline, grab some deep dish pizza from Giordano’s, and stroll through the Magnificent Mile. The Chicago River, which is dyed green to celebrate every St. Patrick’s Day, has a fantastic riverwalk that brings you through the heart of the city, while still having access to shopping and restaurants.

Travel Tips

Trains from Washington, DC to Chicago
Travel by train to Chicago easily. Whether you want fast, cheap or something entirely different, our travel experts have collected everything you need to know so you can find the best option from Washington, DC to Chicago.
FAQs
How much do cheap trains from Washington, DC to Chicago cost?
Train tickets to Chicago from Washington, DC for some dates and times can be found for as cheap as $88 (€74)  one way in the next 7 days.
How much is a train ticket between Washington, DC and Chicago?
If you’re looking to purchase your train tickets in the next week, you can expect the Washington, DC to Chicago train price to come in at an average of $92 (€77)  one way.
What is the distance between Washington, DC and Chicago by train?
You should expect to travel around 593 miles (956 km)  to Chicago from Washington, DC by train.
How long is a train to Chicago from Washington, DC on average?
On average the Washington, DC to Chicago train time is 17 h 40 min  covering the 593 miles (956 km) long journey, but the journey time can vary depending on specific dates or traveling on weekends and holidays.
How many trains are there between Washington, DC and Chicago a day?
On average, there is 1 train a day from Washington, DC to Chicago. The train times and services may be different on weekends and holidays compared to weekdays.
When does the first train depart from Washington, DC to Chicago? When does the last train depart from Washington, DC to Chicago?
The first Washington, DC to Chicago train departs at 3: 59 PM   and the last train from Washington, DC to Chicago leaves at 9: 05 PM. Check out the most up-to-date train schedule from Washington, DC to Chicago on Omio and find the best time to travel to your destination.
How far in advance should I purchase a train ticket from Washington, DC to Chicago to get the best deals?
The price of a one way train ticket from Washington, DC to Chicago is on average $92 (€77) if you purchase within the next 7 days. But we recommend booking tickets before your planned travel date to find the best prices for trains from all possible train providers offering this route. In general, you can find train tickets to Chicago from Washington, DC available a few months in advance.