Chicago to Columbus train

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Chicago - Columbus Train Schedule

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Train Trip Information: Chicago to Columbus

There are 2 daily trains from Chicago to Columbus. Traveling by train from Chicago to Columbus usually takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes, but some trains might arrive slightly earlier or later than scheduled.

Distance123 mi (198 km)
Fastest train2h 50m
Lowest price$24.00
Trains per day2
Most frequent serviceAmtrak Empire Builder
Train lines1

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Overall score for trains from Chicago to Columbus

(Based on 1 ratings and reviews)

5.0

5.0

David

November 30, 2019- Visiting family

Amtrak Empire Builder

Pros: Relaxing and viewing the country side. Cons: Offer WiFi. Otherwise nothing else from my perspective. Tips: Keep cell conversations short.

Pros: Relaxing and viewing the country side. Cons: Offer WiFi. Otherwise nothing else from my perspective. Tips: Keep cell conversations short.

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

In the last month, $26.20 was the average price of a train ticket from Chicago to Columbus. This is about as inexpensive as train tickets ever get. You can expect to find tickets at that price or lower if you book your trip at least 23 days in advance. Otherwise, expect to pay around $11.14 more than that for a same-day booking.

Average prices by travel date

$45$30$15FebFeb

Over the next 30 days, the average cost of a one-way train trip from Chicago to Columbus will vary between $27 and $32. Planning a train trip to Columbus within the upcoming week? The cheapest train ticket you can find from Chicago over the next 7 days is $27. 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

$150$120$90$60$30MAMJJASONDJF

If you are trying to decide when to travel from Chicago to Columbus by train so you can score the best possible deal, your best bet would be to plan your trip for November. That’s when the average price for a train ticket is expected to be just $28 – the lowest of the year.

Alternatively, if you plan to travel from Chicago to Columbus in July, expect to spend more on your train trip, as the average ticket price usually surges to $134 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

$75$60$45$30$153020100

If you want to score the best deal, you should plan to book your train trip online on Wanderu at least 23 days ahead of time. If you do that, your train ticket to Columbus from Chicago will be about $11.14 cheaper compared to what you would pay if you book at the last minute.

Which train should you take from Chicago to Columbus?

Amtrak Empire Builder is the one and only train line which connects Chicago to Columbus. The schedule is relatively limited as the train only runs twice a day.

TrainDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak Empire Builder22h 50m$28.62
  • Amtrak Empire Builder

    Amtrak Empire Builder

    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

Is it safe to travel by train from Chicago to Columbus 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.

Although masks are no longer required on public transportation, we stand behind CDC guidelines that encourage passengers to wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on the train or in stations.

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.

How long is the train journey from Chicago to Columbus?

The distance between Chicago and Columbus is approximately 123 miles, or 198 kilometers. The average train journey between these two cities takes 2 hours and 50 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.

When are trains the most crowded?

On a weekly basis, the greatest number of passengers tend to travel by trains from Chicago to Columbus on Tuesday. Tickets for Tuesday tend to also be the most expensive. For savvy travelers looking for cheaper priced tickets search for travel departing on Sunday. Sunday also tend to have less passengers which may make boarding faster and let you snag your perfect seat.

When are the first and last trains of the day?

The earliest train departs Chicago at 3:00pm while the last train of the day leaves at 3:00pm. 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 Columbus?

Trains leave the station in Chicago twice a day, so there are a couple of options depending on your preferred travel time. Luckily, both trains will get you to Columbus with direct service. While there might still be stops along the way, you will not need to get off or switch trains.

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

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: Union Station

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:

  • Union Station

Where is the train station in Columbus?

Main arrival station: 359 N Ludington St

Columbus has one train station.

All train stations in Columbus:

  • 359 N Ludington St

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