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Chicago to Washington DC train

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Chicago - Washington DC Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

3 trains operate daily from Chicago to Washington DC. The train trip from Chicago to Washington DC is usually about 23 hours and 33 minutes long. However, traveling on the fastest Amtrak Capitol Limited train can get you there in as little as 17 hours and 25 minutes.

Distance594 mi (955 km)
Fastest train17h 25m
Lowest price$128.61
Trains per day1
Most frequent serviceAmtrak
Train lines3

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for trains from Chicago to Washington

(Based on 7 ratings and reviews)

4.3

4.0

John

October 18, 2022- Visiting friends

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: Roomy comfortable seats. Wonderful views from the upper deck of the train. Cons: Access whilst carrying suitcases to/from the upper deck, via very narrow and twisting stairs, is not easy.

4.0

William

January 4, 2022- Visiting friends

Amtrak Capitol Limited

I assumed there would be Wi-Fi on the train, but there wasn't—probably a good option for long-distance trains when people might want to watch shows or get work done.

2.0

Mark

June 3, 2019- Visiting family

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: Our first train ride. We had a sleeper that was restricted and very uncomfortable. All employees were super nice but we got no sleep. No WiFi on board. Cons: Tracks and width of beds. Tips: Don’t get a sleeper unless you’re traveling solo.

What is the price of a train ticket from Chicago to Washington DC?

Over the past month, a train ticket between Chicago and Washington cost $272.96, on average. Since this route covers a considerable distance, tickets are typically a bit pricier than most train fares. Booking your trip at least 29 days in advance can help you secure tickets at the best price. For same-day bookings, you’ll likely have to pay around $333.94 more.

Average prices by travel date

$698$465$233JulJul

The average cost of a one-way train trip from Chicago to Washington DC is expected to fluctuate between $212 and $680 in the next 30 days. If you’re planning a train trip to Washington in the upcoming week, the cheapest price in the next 7 days for a ticket from Chicago is $300.

Monthly avg. prices

$410$328$246$164$82ASONDJFMAMJJ
You can find the lowest prices on this route during February. This time of year offers the best deals on train tickets from Chicago to Washington DC, with the average price at just $212. Train tickets on this route are most expensive in May, when the average price goes up to $383. You can still score cheap deals below this average price, though, especially if you plan ahead and book your ticket in advance.

Prices as travel date approaches

$479$383$287$192$963020100

By booking your train trip from Chicago to Washington on Wanderu at least 29 days ahead of time, you can save about $333.94 on your ticket. Waiting until the last minute means missing out on these savings!

Which train should you take from Chicago to Washington DC?

There are 3 train lines with service from Chicago to Washington. Amtrak is your best bet, with 2 scheduled trains per day.

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak21d 3h 48m$338.78
Amtrak Capitol Limited117h 25m$385.50
Amtrak Cardinal123h 50m$255.88
  • Amtrak is the largest passenger railroad service in America, offering daily intercity trains to hundreds of destinations across the contiguous United States, as well as several cities in Canada. Every Amtrak train comes equipped with comfortable seats with extra legroom, as well as several four-seat areas with tables in the middle. In addition, each car has a freshly cleaned restroom, free WiFi and power outlets at every seat. There are also snack bars where you can purchase drinks or food during your journey. On average, there are 2 Amtrak trains from Chicago to Washington every day, as well as 2 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $185.

  • Passing through seven states, 16 cities, and various National Parks, Amtrak Capitol Limited connects Washington D.C. and Chicago, on 750 miles of railroad. Taking over 17 hours for a complete trip, these trains offer various overnight accommodations and feature panoramic observation cars where passengers can enjoy exceptional scenery. The trains include various options for food; however, WiFi connectivity is not available onboard due to the rural nature of the route.

  • The Amtrak Cardinal is a long distance passenger rail service from New York to Chicago, connecting a total of 31 cities. As one of Amtrak's most scenic train routes, the Cardinal is a popular train line connecting the Northeast to the Southeast, and offers top-notch comfort thanks to its seats with extra legroom, free WiFi, power outlets, and snacks available for purchase in the Cardinal Café. There are usually 1 Cardinal trips from Chicago to Washington per day, with an average trip length of 23 hours and 50 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are trains that can take you the entire way from Chicago to Washington DC. However, there are also some trips on this route that require you to board another vehicle, such as a bus or a shuttle, during your journey. This is worth paying attention to as you book your trip, since a direct train may be preferable for its speed and convenience.

The distance between Chicago and Washington DC is approximately 594 miles, or 955 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 23 hours and 33 minutes, although the absolute fastest you could get there is 17 hours and 25 minutes.

Looking for ways to pass the time? Most trains are equipped with Wi-Fi, which means you can stream music, browse social media or get some work done during your ride. That said, in case your train has a spotty signal, or is among the few without Wi-Fi, we also recommend downloading TV shows and movies to your mobile device in advance of your trip. That way the ride will fly by whatever the Wi-Fi situation.

Trains departing from Chicago to Washington DC tend to have the most passengers on Thursday. With higher demand ticket prices also tend to be higher on Thursday. If you are trying to snag a cheap train tickets or just want an emptier train you'll have better luck by booking travel departing on Saturday as the least number of people tend to travel then.

The earliest train departs Chicago at 5:00am while the last train of the day leaves at 6:00pm. To see all scheduled departure times, use the search function on this page to get the full schedule for your specific travel dates.

There are 3 scheduled trains on most days. There is one direct train, which you can stay on for the entire journey from Chicago to Washington DC. In contrast, taking a non-direct train would require you to transfer trains during your trip.

You can also take a train for your return trip from Washington DC to Chicago.

City Information

Chicago

Known for its innovative architecture, cultural contributions to jazz and house music, and of course that irresistible deep-dish pizza, the many sights and experiences in Chicago make it one of the best urban vacation destinations for millennials and a top destination in Illinois.

You can't beat the views of the city and Lake Michigan from the SkyDeck in the Willis Tower; at over 1,300 feet, this is the highest observation deck in the U.S. Snap that classic selfie with the Bean in Millennium Park, then wander the many museums in nearby Grant Park. Navy Pier is a popular tourist hotspot for its parks, restaurants, and attractions right on Lake Michigan, and baseball fans will find paradise in Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field and sports bars galore.

Chicago's enormous parks offer plentiful opportunities for outdoor activities in gorgeous urban settings. Many companies offer kayak rentals or boat tours on the Chicago River, with special tours running on Saint Patrick's Day, when the entire river is dyed green. When you’re ready to buy some souvenirs from your epic trip, hit the big brand stores on the Magnificent Mile, or shop local in neighborhoods like Andersonville and Wicker Park. And don't miss the chance to laugh until you cry at The Second City comedy theater, famous for launching the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

Chicago is one of the biggest transportation hubs in the Midwest, and provides easy access to nearby destinations ideal for day trips, as well as international travel from two airports. Thanks to plenty of bus and train stations throughout the city, getting to the Windy City is a breeze.

Washington DC

Washington, DC is the capital of the United States, and as such, it offers many points of interest of governmental and historical value. DC is home to several iconic landmarks, including the White House where the U.S. president resides, the Capitol building that houses the meeting chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and the National Mall, where you can stop by the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the World War II Memorial. One of the reasons Washington, DC is among the best destinations to visit with your family is because it is home to so many world-famous museums, including the Smithsonians – 16 museums scattered across the District, most of which are open every day of the week, and even better, every single one is free.

D.C. is not just about politics and museums, though. The city’s active nightlife fittingly ranks it among the biggest party hubs in the country. Head to the vibrant Dupont Circle neighborhood to check out some of the finest restaurants that the nation’s capital has to offer, or join a food tour of Georgetown to get a taste of the area’s culture along with its cuisine.

Nested between Virginia and Maryland, Washington, D.C. is a key transportation hub with three nearby airports and several bus and train stations.

Station Information

Where is the train station in Chicago?

Chicago, IL - Union Station - CHIUST-0

Image credit: Jeramey Jannene

Link to image attribution

Main departure station: Chicago (Union Station), Illinois

The historic Chicago Union Station is the United States' third busiest train station and a hub for 15 Amtrak train lines with destinations throughout the country. The station also serves bus carriers like Greyhound, Indian Trails and Jefferson Lines, and offers connections to Metra commuter lines. Union Station is also just a quick walk to the nearest Chicago L lines. The current station was built in 1925, to replace the original one dating back to 1881, and today wows visitors with its impressive facade, massive columns, and opulent Great Hall. Located right in downtown and adjacent to the Chicago Loop, Union Station is equipped with many services and amenities, including phone charging stations, shops, and various food and drink options.

All train stations in Chicago:

  • Chicago (Union Station), Illinois

  • Pacific Central Station

  • 10251 St Edwards Dr

Where is the train station in Washington DC?

Washington, DC - Union Station - DCAUST-0

Main arrival station: Union Station

Opened more than 100 years ago in 1907, Union Station is the largest transportation hub in Washington, D.C. with almost 5 million travelers passing through it every year. As the official headquarters of Amtrak, Union Station is the main train station in the U.S. capital. It is also a major hub for intercity bus travel, serving as the main bus station in D.C. for a number of carriers, including Greyhound, BoltBus, Peter Pan Bus Lines and OurBus. Union Station offers easy transit connections to places all over D.C. with dedicated stops for the city’s metro, bus and streetcar services, as well as commuter rail for travelers to and from the surrounding areas. Additionally, with a full blown shopping mall on the premises, Union Station is also among the most popular shopping destinations in the nation's capital.

Train stations in Washington DC:

  • Union Station

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