Cardinal and Hoosier State

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Hoosier State redirects here. For the state, see Indiana.

The Cardinal is a 1,147-mile (1,844 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak, connecting New York Penn Station with Chicago Union Station three days a week via Washington, D.C., Charlottesville, Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The Hoosier State provides service the other four days on the 196-mile (315 km) section from Chicago to Indianapolis.

In addition to the Cardinal, one other train (Lake Shore Limited) connects Chicago and New York, and one other (Capitol Limited) connects Chicago and Washington. Until early 2005, the Three Rivers also connected New York and Chicago.

Cardinal and Hoosier State passengers may ride in reserved coach seating. Cardinal passengers may also choose to reserve first class Viewliner sleeping car accommodations.

Route details

The Cardinal operates over Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Buckingham Branch Railroad, Canadian National Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Metra trackage:


Prior to Amtrak's first day on May 1, 1971, Penn Central operated the James Whitcomb Riley (trains 303 and 304, named after poet James Whitcomb Riley) between Chicago and Cincinnati, and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway operated the George Washington (trains 1 and 2, named after first U.S. President George Washington) between Cincinnati and Washington, with a section (trains 41 and 42) splitting at Charlottesville and running to Newport News.

Amtrak, upon its 1971 commencement of operations, kept service identical at first. Through Washington-Chicago and Newport-Chicago coaches began operating July 12, and a through sleeping car began September 8. With the November 14, 1971 schedule, the routes were merged, with the George Washington name being applied eastbound and the James Whitcomb Riley westbound. At the same time the route was extended from Washington to Boston, and was assigned train numbers 50 eastbound and 51 westbound.

On March 6, 1972 the train was rerouted from Chicago's Central Station into Union Station. On April 30 the service was truncated back to Washington from Boston. On May 19, 1974 the George Washington was renamed the James Whitcomb Riley, giving it the same name in both directions. The Newport News section was discontinued June 14, 1976 and the Colonial began running over its former route east of Richmond.

The James Whitcomb Riley was renamed the Cardinal on October 30, 1977, as the cardinal was the state bird of all six states through which it ran. It was discontinued September 30, 1981 (by then having been extended to New York from Washington) and brought back January 8, 1982.

The Hoosier State began October 1, 1980, running over a different route than the Cardinal. On April 27, 1986 the Cardinal was rerouted to use the same tracks as the Hoosier State from Chicago to Indianapolis.

From December 17, 1999 to July 4, 2003, the Hoosier State was extended south from Indianapolis to Louisville, Kentucky and renamed the Kentucky Cardinal.

Station stops

The Cardinal runs as train 50 eastbound and train 51 westbound. The Hoosier State runs as train 850 eastbound and 851 westbound.

For service east of Washington, see Northeast Corridor. Cardinal trains stop only at these stations:

This line is also served by Crescent trains north of Charlottesville.

In the table below, CD is Cardinal service, CS is Crescent, and HS is Hoosier State. VRE Manassas Line service is also shown.

State Milepost City Station Amtrak Other Connections
DC 0 Washington Union Station CD CS VRE MARC Brunswick Line, Camden Line and Penn Line, WMATA Red Line, Amtrak Northeast Corridor continues north
Thruway Motorcoach service (Greyhound Lines) to Dulles Airport, Warrenton and Charlottesville
CP Virginia
QL137.1 L'Enfant VRE WMATA Blue Line, Green Line, Orange Line and Yellow Line
QL138.5 state line
VA Crystal City VRE WMATA Blue Line and Yellow Line
CFP104.6 Alexandria CD CS VRE WMATA Blue Line and Yellow Line
VRE Fredericksburg Line splits, along with Amtrak Carolinian, Palmetto, Regional, Silver Meteor and Silver Star
Backlick Road VRE
Rolling Road VRE
Burke Centre VRE
Manassas Park VRE
Manassas CD CS VRE
Broad Run Airport VRE
Culpeper CD CS
Charlottesville CD CS Amtrak Crescent splits
Thruway Motorcoach (James River Bus Lines) to Richmond Staples Mill Road Station
Staunton CD
Clifton Forge CD
WV White Sulphur Springs CD
Alderson CD
Hinton CD
Prince CD
Thurmond CD
Montgomery CD
Charleston CD
Huntington CD
KY Ashland CD
South Portsmouth-South Shore CD
Maysville CD
OH Cincinnati Union Terminal CD Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Chicago Union Station on days the Cardinal doesn't run
Hamilton CD
IN Connersville CD
Indianapolis CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Louisville
Thruway Motorcoach (Burlington Trailways) to Crawfordsville, Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria Airport, Galesburg, Moline and Davenport
Crawfordsville CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Burlington Trailways) to Danville, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria Airport, Galesburg, Moline and Davenport
Lafayette CD HS
Rensselaer CD HS
Dyer CD HS
IL Chicago Union Station CD HS Thruway Motorcoach (Van Galder Bus Lines) to Rockford, South Beloit, Janesville, and two stops in Madison
Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Cincinnati on days the Cardinal doesn't run
Thruway Motorcoach (Greyhound Lines) to Indianapolis and Louisville
Amtrak routes

Acela Express - Adirondack - Auto Train - Capitol Limited - Cardinal - Carolinian - Crescent - Downeaster - Empire Service - Ethan Allen Express - Keystone Service - Lake Shore Limited - Maple Leaf - Metroliner - Palmetto - Pennsylvanian - Regional - Silver Meteor - Silver Star - Vermonter


Ann Rutledge - Blue Water - California Zephyr - Capitol Limited - Cardinal - Carl Sandburg - City of New Orleans - Empire Builder - Hiawatha - Hoosier State - Illini - Illinois Zephyr - Lake Shore Limited - Lincoln Service - Mules - Pere Marquette - Saluki - Southwest Chief - Texas Eagle - Wolverine

External links