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Columbus to Chicago train

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Columbus - Chicago Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

4 trains operate daily from Columbus to Chicago. The train trip from Columbus to Chicago is usually about 3 hours and 27 minutes long. However, traveling on the fastest Amtrak train can get you there in as little as 2 hours and 48 minutes.

Distance123 mi (198 km)
Fastest train2h 48m
Lowest price$30.21
Trains per day3
Most frequent serviceAmtrak Empire Builder
Train lines2

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for trains from Columbus to Chicago

(Based on 3 ratings and reviews)

4.7

4.0

Kristi

December 14, 2019- Vacation

Amtrak Empire Builder

Pros: It was nice to sit with my kids and grandkids and not feel totally restricted to your seat for the entire trip. Cons: Could have been more clean. Tips: It's an easy, comfortable, economical way to travel.

5.0

Tony

November 5, 2019- Visiting friends

Amtrak Empire Builder

Pros: Nice and quiet. Cons: Departure announcement. Tips: I recommend it.

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

In the last month, the average price of a train ticket from Columbus to Chicago was $46.54. Compared to most train fares, this is an excellent price. Good news! You can find the cheapest tickets if you book your trip at least 15 days prior to the travel date. You’ll likely pay around $14.22 more if you wait to book until the last minute.

Average prices by travel date

$82$55$27JulJul

Over the next 30 days, a one-way train trip from Columbus to Chicago will cost between $43 and $70. Book in advance to secure the best price in the next few weeks.

Monthly avg. prices

$103$82$62$41$21ASONDJFMAMJJ
You can find the lowest prices on this route during February. This time of year offers the best deals on train tickets from Columbus to Chicago, with the average price at just $48. Train tickets on this route are most expensive in August, when the average price goes up to $84. 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

$69$55$41$27$143020100

If you're looking to save on your train trip from Columbus to Chicago, book online with Wanderu at least 15 days in advance. That way, you’ll save $14.22 compared to booking your ticket last minute.

Which train should you take from Columbus to Chicago?

2 train services operate from Columbus to Chicago. Amtrak Empire Builder usually has more trains scheduled, with 2 trips per day. That said, it's still worth comparing the prices and trip durations:

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak24h 0m$49.83
Amtrak Empire Builder22h 59m$54.21
  • 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 Columbus to Chicago every day, as well as 2 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $30.

  • The Amtrak Empire Builder is a long-distance passenger rail service that has been in operation since 1929. The full 2,200-mile route takes 45 hours to connect Chicago with the Pacific Northwest. Don’t let the length of the trip intimidate you; the Empire Builder is one of Amtrak’s most popular services, and often rated as the most scenic train route in the country. The sightseer lounge, home to enormous windows, is the perfect place to drink in the incredible views of the Mississippi River, the North Dakota Plains, Glacier National Park, and the Columbia River Gorge. Overnight trips on the Empire Builder include the option to book sleeper cabins, for a more comfortable journey and included meals. All passengers can purchase meals or snacks in the cafe car.

Frequently Asked Questions

The distance between Columbus and Chicago is approximately 123 miles, or 198 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 3 hours and 27 minutes, although the absolute fastest you could get there is 2 hours and 48 minutes. Although it takes a couple of hours each way, it's still possible to make a round trip in a single day. Since most trains are equipped with Wi-Fi, you should be able to browse the Internet or get some work done during your journey.

Trains from Columbus to Chicago are the most crowded on Monday. Tickets also tend to be more expensive then. If you are looking for a great deal on your train tickets or just want extra room to stretch out, consider traveling on Saturday instead, as it tends to be the least crowded day of the week.

The earliest train departs Columbus at 1:00pm while the last train of the day leaves at 4:00pm. 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 4 scheduled trains on most days. 3 of these are direct connections to Chicago. While direct trains may still make stops along the way, you will not need to switch trains at any point. If you're looking to get to your destination faster, a direct train is the convenient and time-efficient choice.

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

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.

Station Information

Where is the train station in Columbus?

Main departure station: 359 N Ludington St

There is one train station in Columbus.

All train stations in Columbus:

  • 359 N Ludington St

Where is the train station in Chicago?

Chicago, IL - Union Station - CHIUST-0

Image credit: Jeramey Jannene

Link to image attribution

Main arrival 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.

Train stations in Chicago:

  • Chicago (Union Station), Illinois

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