Amtrak Illini Service train tickets - Search & book deals

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About Amtrak Illini Service

Amtrak's Illini Service is one of three long-distance passenger rail routes that comprise Amtrak's Illinois Service. The Illini Service originally started in 1973 to serve an increasing number of college students needing transportation between Champaign and Chicago.

Operating along 310 miles of railroad, the Amtrak Illini Service takes its name from the indiginous Illini tribe. The Illini is the evening commuter service connecting Chicago and Carbondale, while its sister train, the Saluki, operates the morning commuter service. Amtrak Illini has nine stops along the way, including Homewood, Gilman, Champaign, and Centralia.

Like most Amtrak trains, the Illini Service offers a cafe car and the option to book business class seating. You can enjoy complimentary tea and coffee in business class, plus access to the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago. As the Amtrak Illini serves primarily as a commuter train, you can expect onboard WiFi and individual power outlets to work as you ride.

Amtrak Illini Service uses Siemens Charger locomotives, which meet the highest federal standard with a 90% reduction in emissions compared with older models. This makes the Illini the perfect choice if you value sustainable travel.

The Illini Service has been an official partner of Wanderu since 2015, making it easy to book cheap train tickets for your Illinois travels. Plus, with no Wanderu fees, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best deal on Amtrak Illini tickets.

Contact Amtrak Illini Service

Phone number: US: 1 (800) 872-7245

Online support: Amtrak Illini Service website

 #4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the Midwest   
 #5 Best Train Line in the United States

#4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the Midwest
#5 Best Train Line in the United States

Amtrak Illini Service Amenities

Air conditioningAir conditioning
Extra legroomExtra legroom
Loyalty rewardsLoyalty rewards
Power outletPower outlet


Amtrak Illini Service train coverage

Daily Trips21

What travelers are saying about Amtrak Illini Service

Here’s what Wanderu users who have booked trips with Amtrak Illini Service had to say about their travel experience.

Traveling During COVID-19

“They took COVID safety precautions seriously.”
based on 57 reviews

Onboard Experience

“The WiFi actually worked for the entire trip”
based on 57 reviews
“I’ll travel with them again just for the staff!”
based on 84 reviews
“Really cheap tickets and really good service.”
based on 93 reviews
“The train got there on time.”
based on 85 reviews
“Seats were really comfy and spacious”
based on 94 reviews
“The train was almost suspiciously clean”
based on 90 reviews

Amtrak Illini Service reviews from Wanderu customers

Overall review score for Amtrak Illini Service

(Based on 103 reviews)

Ratings (Out of 5)










Amtrak Illini Service passenger reviews


Gennie May

April 2, 2024- Visiting family

Chicago to Effingham

Pros: The train attendant was very nice and helpful they informed quickly for the destination station. Cons: I wish they put monitor in every station just like the bullet train in Japan. Tips: Don’t hesitate to travel using Amtrak it’s a great experience.



January 10, 2024- Visiting family

Carbondale to Homewood

Pros: Everything. Cons: None. Tips: A very safe trip.



September 7, 2023- Business

Chicago to Champaign

Pros: The train seats were very clean and comfortable. There was not a lot of noise on the train, which was nice because I had work to do on my computer. No wifi was present either, I would've appreciated some wifi on the train. Cons: The wifi available would be great. I had a lot of work to do since I'm a college student, and didn't want to get behind. It was difficult to do all of that with little to no wifi. Tips: Bring you own cable wifi because there's no internet on the train.



August 21, 2023- Visiting family

Chicago to Carbondale

Pros: Ease and destination. Cons: Open dining cart earlier.



August 3, 2023- Visiting family

Carbondale to Chicago

Pros: Quick and on time. Cons: All good. Tips: Great service and great deal.

Amtrak Illini Service Routes & Network

Amtrak Illini Service’s train network features 61 train routes that connect 11 cities serving 11 stations. On average, Amtrak Illini Service performs about 21 train trips every day. The top cities to which Amtrak Illini Service offers the highest number of daily train service include Chicago and Champaign.

Top Cities Served by Amtrak Illini Service

CityRouteEarliest trainLatest train
Champaign139:05 pm11:19 pm
Chicago129:15 pm1:14 am
Carbondale129:05 pm12:47 am
Mattoon149:05 pm11:36 pm
Homewood59:05 pm1:14 am
Effingham109:05 pm11:36 pm
Kankakee59:05 pm12:24 am
Centralia29:05 pm10:15 pm
Rantoul49:05 pm12:08 am

Most popular Amtrak Illini Service routes

The train from Chicago to Champaign is Amtrak Illini Service’s most popular route. Trips from Chicago to Carbondale and Chicago to Mattoon are also highly popular.

Top Amtrak Illini Service routes

RouteDaily TripsDurationPrice
Chicago to Champaign12h 31m$19
Chicago to Carbondale15h 30m$44
Chicago to Mattoon13h 18m$25
Chicago to Effingham13h 42m$30
Champaign to Carbondale12h 59m$19
Champaign to Homewood11h 47m$15
Chicago to Kankakee11h 10m$8
Chicago to Rantoul12h 3m$19
Champaign to Mattoon10h 47m$7

Amtrak Illini Service Cancellation Policy

All Amtrak Illini Service tickets can be cancelled for a full refund within the first 24 hours after purchase. If more than 24 hours have passed, the cancellation policy and change fee structure for Amtrak bookings depend on the type of fare you purchased:

Saver Fare tickets: A 25% fee applies for any changes. If you cancel the trip, you will receive an eVoucher worth 75% of the original ticket price.

Value Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable up to 15 or more days before departure. If cancelled less than 14 days before departure, a 25% cancellation fee applies.

Flexible, Business and Premium Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable if cancelled or changed before departure.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable after the train has departed, so be sure to make your updates as soon as possible if your travel plans change.

If your Amtrak Illini Service ticket is eligible for change or cancellation, you can do that by calling Amtrak’s customer service phone number at 1 (800) 872-7245. To cancel or change your booking online, simply go to and click on the “Modify Trip” tab in the upper right corner.

Wanderu also offers an affordable trip protection option by Allianz Global Assistance that you can purchase when booking your tickets. In addition to 24-hour assistance during your trip and coverage for lost or damaged baggage, trip protection can help you get your money back in case you need to cancel or change your trip. You can file a claim to have any Amtrak change or cancellation fees reimbursed if you cannot travel due to covered reasons such as illness, extreme weather, or required work shifts.

Amtrak Illini Service Train Guide & FAQs

Yes, Amtrak Illini Service offers WiFi on their trains. Although most trips with Amtrak Illini Service will have WiFi as advertised, some trains might not come equipped with WiFi and onboard WiFi can lose its connection in rural areas. We recommend you bring a book or download a movie just to play it safe. Amtrak Illini Service WiFi is generally best used for surfing the web, checking emails and chatting with friends; you shouldn’t count on the WiFi to binge watch your favorite show.

Yes, there are power outlets onboard Amtrak Illini Service trains. You can generally find one or two sockets per row of seats, so be a good traveller and check if your seat neighbor might want to charge up their devices as well. With the onboard power outlets, you can charge both a computer and USB devices with a USB power adapter that typically comes with most phones and tablets.

Since Amtrak Illini Service might sometimes use replacement train vehicles, not all trips are guaranteed to have power points. We recommend to bring a power bank to charge your phone for all trips over 2 hours, just in case.

On a typical day, Amtrak Illini Service has 21 scheduled train trips in total. However, the exact departure and arrival times vary depending on the day and route. The best way to find the exact schedule for your trip is to use the search tool on this page.

No, Amtrak Illini Service does not offer will call tickets. You should purchase your tickets online and make sure you have everything you need to board before you arrive at the station.

Yes, Amtrak Illini Service requires you to present an ID to an agent to be allowed to board the train. Make sure you have identification issued by a government agency that meets the carrier’s requirements. Alternative IDs, such as a college ID, won’t work.

Yes, there are bathrooms on Amtrak Illini Service trains. The bathrooms are pretty basic and include a toilet, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Most bathrooms don’t have running water. As you will be using a bathroom on a moving vehicle, please use caution and hold on to a rail at all times.

Amtrak Illini Service provides snacks to satisfy your hunger during your travels. Be sure to pack a credit card and some cash in case you get hungry.

Amtrak Illini Service does not require a printed ticket to board the train. Instead, an eTicket is sent to you by email when you make your reservation. You can use your smartphone to show this eTicket to the ticketing agent as you board.

Amtrak Illini Service goes the extra distance to deliver premium features to its customers.

Do you find yourself squished in a regular seat or just love having extra room to sprawl out? Well you’re in luck as Amtrak Illini Service offers extra legroom seating. Since there is no standard of what extra legroom is, the extra space you get may vary between train lines, but getting extra is always good.

Cheap Amtrak Illini Service tickets recently found on Wanderu

With 21 Amtrak Illini Service trips per day, there are a lot of great deals to uncover for the bargain hunter and Amtrak Illini Service tickets start at just $2.76. Check out some of the latest and greatest deals snatched up by Wanderu users.

How do I get the best deal on Amtrak Illini Service tickets?

Wanderu is the best place to score cheap Amtrak Illini Service tickets. Wanderu offers the lowest available fares every day and charges no extra booking fees. Plus, you can compare Amtrak Illini Service prices with trips offered by other train companies to be sure you’re getting the best deal on your tickets!

Pro travelers know that booking your ticket well in advance is key to finding the lowest price. Ticket prices normally go up the closer you get to the travel date, so don’t miss out on a good deal when you see one. If you can be flexible with your travel date, you can also get cheap tickets by traveling on weekdays instead of weekends.

When you’re ready to book, type your departure city and destination city in the search bar above, select your travel date, and let Wanderu work its magic to show you all of the best bus and train ticket prices available for your trip. Pick the ticket that’s best for your budget, schedule, and preferences, and complete the booking right on Wanderu to secure your great deal.

Wanderu is the simplest way to book bus and train travel.

With just a quick search on Wanderu, you can compare coach and train schedules and prices from hundreds of travel companies in one convenient place to find the trip that works best for you. Wanderu’s simple checkout process makes it easy to book cheap coach and train tickets hassle-free and with no additional fees. Most importantly, as Wanderu is an official partner of all leading bus and train companies, we always have the best coach and train deals out there.

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