Cardinal and Hoosier State
- 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.
The Cardinal operates over Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway, Buckingham Branch Railroad, Canadian National Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Metra trackage:
- Amtrak Northeast Corridor, New York to Washington
- CSX Landover Subdivision, RF&P Subdivision, Washington to Alexandria
- NS Washington District, Alexandria to Orange
- BB Washington Subdivision and North Mountain Subdivision, Orange to Clifton Forge
- CSX Alleghany Subdivision, New River Subdivision, Kanawha Subdivision, Russell Subdivision, Northern Subdivision, Cincinnati Subdivision, and Cincinnati Terminal Subdivision, Clifton Forge to Cincinnati
- CSX Cincinnati Terminal Subdivision, Indianapolis Subdivision, Indianapolis Terminal Subdivision, Crawfordsville Branch Subdivision, Lafayette Subdivision, and Monon Subdivision, Indianapolis to Maynard
- CN Elsdon Subdivision, Maynard to Thornton
- UP Villa Grove Subdivision, Thornton to 81st Street
- Metra SouthWest Service, 81st Street to Chicago
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.
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.
- Mike Schafer, Amtrak's atlas, Trains June 1991
- Routes and Trains on the Eve of Amtrak
- Amtrak's First Trains and Routes
- PRR Chronology