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Trains from Chicago to Washington DC

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Chicago - Washington DC Train Timetable

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Trip Summary

There are 53 daily trains from Chicago to Washington DC. Traveling by train from Chicago to Washington DC usually takes around 55 hours and 37 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak Capitol Limited train can make the trip in 17 hours and 25 minutes.

Distance594 mi (955 km)
Fastest train17h 25m
Lowest price£68.69
Trains per day1
Most frequent serviceAmtrak
Train lines3

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Overall score for trains from Chicago to Washington

(Based on 6 ratings and reviews)

4.3

4.0

William

4 January 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.

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

3 June 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.

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?

In the last month, £198.09 was the average price of a train ticket from Chicago to Washington. Given how far apart Chicago and Washington DC are from each other, there's no getting around the fact that most train tickets are on the pricier side. You can expect to find tickets at that price or lower if you book your trip at least 29 days in advance. Otherwise, expect to pay around £51.97 more than that for a same-day booking.

Average prices by travel date

£270£180£90MayMay

Over the next 30 days, the average cost of a one-way train trip from Chicago to Washington DC will vary between £196 and £261. Planning a train trip to Washington within the upcoming week? The cheapest train ticket you can find from Chicago over the next 7 days is £200. Make sure to book your trip as soon as possible as train fares tend to go up as you get closer to your travel date.

Monthly average prices

£184£147£110£74£37JJASONDJFMAM

If you are trying to decide when to travel from Chicago to Washington DC by train so you can score the best possible deal, your best bet would be to plan your trip for January. That’s when the average price for a train ticket is expected to be just £110 – the lowest of the year.

Alternatively, if you plan to travel from Chicago to Washington DC in March, expect to spend more on your train trip, as the average ticket price usually surges to £164 at that time of year. However, if you book your trip ahead of time, you have a high chance of scoring a ticket at a lower price.

Prices as travel date approaches

£245£196£147£98£493020100

If you want to score the best deal, you should plan to book your train trip online on Wanderu at least 29 days ahead of time. If you do that, your train ticket to Washington from Chicago will be about £51.97 cheaper compared to what you would pay if you book at the last minute.

Which train should you take from Chicago to Washington DC?

There are 3 train lines with service from Chicago to Washington. Amtrak is the most popular choice with travelers, offering scheduled service on 52 trains each day.

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak522d 8h 27m£220.20
Amtrak Capitol Limited117h 25m£88.98
Amtrak Cardinal123h 49m£94.92
  • Amtrak

    Amtrak

    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 52 Amtrak trains from Chicago to Washington every day, as well as 30 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from £79.

    AMT-0AMT-1AMT-2AMT-3AMT-4AMT-5AMT-6AMT-7AMT-8AMT-9
  • Amtrak Capitol Limited

    Amtrak Capitol Limited

    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.

  • Amtrak Cardinal

    Amtrak Cardinal

    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 49 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to travel by train from Chicago to Washington during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our train partners have implemented several different policies to keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. From limiting vehicle capacity to enhancing cleaning protocols and upgrading air filters, train carriers are committed to maintaining a safe environment. For details on what each company is doing to ensure their fleet remains safe for travel, click here.

In addition, federal law requires all train passengers to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the trip. Please make sure you are wearing a face mask or you may not be allowed to board the train.

Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for more information on all carrier policies and the latest travel advisories issued by every U.S. state, Canadian province, and European country.

Can you take a train all the way from Chicago to Washington DC?

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.

How long is the train journey from Chicago to Washington DC?

The distance between Chicago and Washington DC is approximately 594 miles, or 955 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 55 hours and 37 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.

When are trains the most crowded?

Trains departing from Chicago to Washington DC tend to have the most passengers on Wednesday. With higher demand ticket prices also tend to be higher on Wednesday. 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 Sunday as the least number of people tend to travel then.

When are the first and last trains of the day?

The earliest train departs Chicago at 00:00 while the last train of the day leaves at 23:00. To see all scheduled departure times, use the search function on this page to get the full schedule for your specific travel dates.

Is there a direct train from Chicago to Washington DC?

There are 53 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, and follow that up with a drink (or two) at one of the many bars in the area.

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?

Diridon Caltrain Station - 65 Cahill St - SJCDCS-0

Image credit: SPUR

Link to image attribution

Departure stations

Diridon Station opened in 1935 with architecture inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and today is a vital part of Silicon Valley’s transportation system. Diridon Station connects Amtrak train service to local commuter service like the Caltrain and VTA Light Rail. The station is also a major hub for bus transit on Amtrak Thruway and Greyhound buses. With paid parking onsite, bicycle racks, and accessible entrances, travelers can easily reach the station from nearby downtown San Jose. As a bonus, food trucks frequently set up outside the station to provide delicious cheap eats for passengers.

All train stations in Chicago:

  • Diridon Caltrain Station - 65 Cahill St

  • 245 Second St

  • Central Station

  • 100 S EK Gaylord Blvd

  • 4005 Taylor St

  • Santa Fe Depot - 1050 Kettner Blvd

  • Union Station

  • 120 East Santa Fe Ave - Fullerton Transp Ctr

  • Reg Transp Ctr - 1000 E Santa Ana Blvd

  • Anaheim Stadium Parking - 2626 E Katella Ave

  • 110 10th Ave SW

  • Gateway Station - 430 S 15th St

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

  • 5885 Horton St

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride Lot

Where is the train station in Washington DC?

Washington, DC - Union Station - DCAUST-0

Arrival stations

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

Need a return trip from Washington DC to Chicago?

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