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Chicago to Columbus train

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Chicago - Columbus Train Schedule

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Trip Summary

2 trains operate daily from Chicago to Columbus. The train trip from Chicago to Columbus is usually about 2 hours and 50 minutes long. However, be prepared just in case your train arrives slightly earlier or later than scheduled.

Distance123 mi (198 km)
Fastest train2h 50m
Lowest price$22.00
Trains per day2
Most frequent serviceAmtrak Empire Builder
Train lines1

Train Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Average score for trains from Chicago to Columbus

(Based on 2 ratings and reviews)

5.0

5.0

Lisa

March 13, 2024- Visiting friends

Amtrak Empire Builder

Riding the train is easy and comfortable. I never feel lost or unsure of where I am or when to get off. Staff is always helpful.

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.

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

Over the past month, a train ticket between Chicago and Columbus cost $30.23, on average. This price makes taking the train a budget-friendly option to get to Columbus. 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 $32.58 more.

Average prices by travel date

$75$50$25AprApr

The average cost of a one-way train trip from Chicago to Columbus is expected to fluctuate between $23 and $65 in the next 30 days. If you’re planning a train trip to Columbus in the upcoming week, the cheapest price in the next 7 days for a ticket from Chicago is $26.

Monthly avg. prices

$75$60$45$30$15MJJASONDJFMA
Ticket prices for the train from Chicago to Columbus often fluctuate based on the time of year. For the best prices on this route, book in February when the average ticket price is only $31. If you're thinking of traveling from Chicago to Columbus during July, keep in mind that train ticket prices may be higher than usual, with an average price of $69 during this time of year. The best way to score a cheap deal, even in July, is to book your trip well in advance.

Prices as travel date approaches

$50$40$30$20$103020100

By booking your train trip from Chicago to Columbus on Wanderu at least 29 days ahead of time, you can save about $32.58 on your ticket. Waiting until the last minute means missing out on these savings!

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 51m$38.32
  • 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 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.

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

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.

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: 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

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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