Washington DC to Chicago train

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Washington DC - Chicago Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

There are usually 3 daily train trips available from Washington DC to Chicago. Traveling by train from Washington DC to Chicago usually takes 21 hours and 57 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak Capitol Limited train can make the trip in 17 hours and 40 minutes.

Distance594 mi (955 km)
Fastest train17h 40m
Lowest price$84.00
Trains per day1
Most frequent serviceAmtrak
Train lines3

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for trains from Washington to Chicago

(Based on 11 ratings and reviews)




June 9, 2022- Visiting family

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: Relaxing experience like in goog old times. No WiFi on board. Excellent personal service. Tips: Slow down and don't hurry.



February 12, 2020- Solo travel

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: Viewing lounge. Cons: Cafe cart had minimal and not very appealing choices. Tips: Bring a neck pillow, watch your belongings while on the Train.



November 22, 2019- Vacation

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: Staff were really friendly and sweet, observatory deck was awesome. Lack of wifi didn’t bother me. Cons: Was content with everything. Tips: Bring neck pillows and ear buds to make sleep easier.


Ulfat Zarine

August 21, 2019- Visiting family

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Pros: I had a great trip from DC to Chicago on The Capitol Amtrak . The staff at DC union was very helpful, one has to ask around a lot. Esp for a new traveller, every station is a new place esp Chicago union is very confusing. Getting off from intercity Amtrak and while trying to get on local train Metra in Chicago , I found there were no signs etc.. Cons: The train was delayed at Toledo, Ohio for more than 1 1/2 hours as the train engineer who was supposed to embark and take us onwards was nowhere, for whatever reason. Hence I missed my connection at Chicago union and had to wait an extra 2 hours for the next Metra train to Lisle... Chicago Union does not have many places to sit n wait.. For a new traveler, it’s a bit uneasy, so if a staff member could just stand ahead inside the carriage, before train starts, facing everyone and INFORM that it’s OK to recline AND extend the foot rest of the coach seat it would make the seat and the journey very comfortable. Tips: If you want to see the sights, don’t take the night train... I changed to a fast train, which was very clean, fast and had a fantastic viewing coach etc, but I missed out on the the scenery, The Capitol Amtrak from Washington DC to Chicago is a night train!!! I’m from Toronto, Canada and I’m used to clean, fast trains with viewing coaches, like The Canadian VIA , The Capitol was equally great, I loved it. It does gets quite chilly at night , so take an extra jacket or a light blanket, some snacks and magazines or books.



June 8, 2019- Visiting family

Amtrak Capitol Limited

Cons: My husband and I were one of the 1st people on the train going from dc to chicago. They made us sit apart in seats 10 and 11. I told them I needed to sit with him because of a physical condition that I have and they refused to let us sit together. There were singles sitting all around us but no one would give up their seats so we had to to spend the entire trip, which was very long with many delays, in a booth in the observation car so I could sit on an angle. The women who I asked if we could have different seats just told me to sit back down in the seats they told me to. It was degrading being treated like that and extremely uncomfortable sitting at a booth for the duration of the trip. I feel you should refund our money for the trip. The train was freezing and many, many people were complaining to Amtrak and they were not able to fix the problem. The bathrooms were in terrible shape and not kept up throughout the trip. Tips: Don't listen to anyone and sit where you want to. There is no wifi on this line. Bathrooms are filthy.

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

Over the past month, a train ticket between Washington and Chicago cost $179.08, 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 $117.22 more.

Average prices by travel date


Over the next 30 days, a one-way train trip from Washington DC to Chicago will cost between $149 and $264. Book in advance to secure the best price in the next few weeks.

Monthly avg. prices

You can find the lowest prices on this route during February. This time of year offers the best deals on train tickets from Washington DC to Chicago, with the average price at just $179. Train tickets on this route are most expensive in July, when the average price goes up to $251. 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


By booking your train trip from Washington to Chicago on Wanderu at least 29 days ahead of time, you can save about $117.22 on your ticket. Waiting until the last minute means missing out on these savings!

Which train should you take from Washington DC to Chicago?

There are 3 train lines with service from Washington to Chicago. There is only one daily train on each service.

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak11d 0h 38m$287.10
Amtrak Capitol Limited117h 41m$149.45
Amtrak Cardinal11d 0h 1m$160.25
  • 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 1 Amtrak trains from Washington to Chicago every day, as well as 3 trips on the weekends, with prices starting from $125.

  • 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 Washington to Chicago per day, with an average trip length of 24 hours and 1 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

The distance between Washington DC and Chicago is approximately 594 miles, or 955 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 21 hours and 57 minutes, although the absolute fastest you could get there is 17 hours and 40 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.

Monday tends to be the busiest day of the week with travelers taking trains from Washington DC to Chicago. Ticket price also tend to be more expensive on Monday than other days. If you are hoping to have more room on the train and even save some change check out travel options on Friday instead, as less people travel then and deals are more likely to be found.

The earliest train departs Washington DC at 7:00am 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 3 scheduled trains on most days. There is one direct train, which you can stay on for the entire journey from Washington DC to Chicago. 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 Chicago to Washington DC.

City Information

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.


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 Washington DC?

Washington, DC - Union Station - DCAUST-0

Main departure 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.

All train stations in Washington DC:

  • Union Station

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.

All train stations in Chicago:

  • Chicago (Union Station), Illinois

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