PASSENGER TRAINS IN CHICAGO - PRESENT AND PAST
On May 1, 1971, Amtrak assumed responsibility for nearly all intercity passenger trains throughout the United States. This government sponsored agency would thus relieve the private railroads of the financial responsibilities for these money losing passenger trains. Amtrak's start up was initially a shock to railroad passengers and railfans, as suddenly, more than half of America's passenger trains were all at once discontinued. But despite funding uncertainties throughout Amtrak's history, Amtrak has been able to focus on the most promising passenger railroad routes, and now actually carries more passengers than the private railroads did immediately before Amtrak's takeover.
Chicago's commuter and intercity passenger trains once operated out of seven different downtown terminals. Three of those stations are no longer, and Amtrak has consolidated all remaining intercity passenger trains into Union Station. Includes photos.
Prior to Amtrak's creation, many private railroads operated passenger trains in and out of Chicago. Included are sample departures and arrivals of trains during various eras, and descriptions of the many different routings to get in and out of the various downtown terminals.
Chicago is Amtrak's main hub outside the Northeast Corridor, with Amtrak trains operating in all different directions. This information will help untangle Amtrak's complex routings.
Passenger trains operated by the private railroads prior to May 1, 1971, and those trains retained by Amtrak.
Because Chicago historically had six separate terminal stations for intercity passenger trains, consolidating all Amtrak trains into Union Station was sometimes a challenge.