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Eastbound Cardinal stopped in Prince, WV
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Midwestern United States|
|Predecessor||James Whitcomb Riley|
|First service||October 30, 1977|
|Average ridership||354 per train
110,923 total (FY11)
|End||New York City|
|Distance travelled||1,146 miles (1,844 km)|
|Class(es)||First class (sleeper) and reserved coach|
|Sleeping arrangements||Roomettes and bedrooms|
|Baggage facilities||Checked baggage available at selected stations|
|Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Track owner(s)||Amtrak, CSX, BB, NS, CN, UP, and Metra|
The Cardinal is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak thrice weekly, connecting New York Penn Station with Chicago Union Station via Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Charlottesville, Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The length of the route is 26½ hours, and operated over 1,146 miles (1,844 km). The Hoosier State provides service the other four days on the 196-mile (315 km) section from Chicago to Indianapolis.
The Cardinal is the successor of several previous trains, primarily the New York Central (later Penn Central) James Whitcomb Riley and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) George Washington. The James Whitcomb Riley was a daytime all-coach train which operated between Chicago and Cincinnati (via Indianapolis), while the George Washington was a C&O sleeper which ran east from Cincinnati to Washington, DC and Newport News, Virginia. Up until the late 1960s the Riley would carry the Washington's sleeper cars between Cincinnati and Chicago. Both routes survived until the formation of Amtrak in 1971.
Amtrak kept service mostly identical at first. Through Washington-Chicago and Newport News-Chicago coaches began operating July 12, and a through sleeping car began September 8. Throughout the 1970s Amtrak would drop the George Washington name re-route the train off the rapidly deteriorating Penn Central track in Indiana. The Newport News section ended in 1976, replaced by the New York—Newport News Colonial.
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. However, due to poor track conditions in Indiana, the train was rerouted numerous times, first over various Penn Central/Conrail routings, then ultimately over the former Baltimore and Ohio route via Cottage Grove by 1980.
The Cardinal was eventually extended from Washington, D.C. to New York City, but was discontinued on September 30, 1981. A congressional mandate resurrected the train on January 8, 1982, and followed another new route, via Richmond and Muncie. This arrangement lasted until April 27, 1986, when the train was finally moved to its current route via Indianapolis.
With the Indianapolis routing, the Cardinal began operating jointly with the Chicago—Indianapolis Hoosier State. The Hoosier State operated to Indianapolis on the days the Cardinal does not. This pattern ceased on October 25, 1987, then resumed again on July 19, 1998. On December 17, 1999 Amtrak extended the Hoosier State to Jeffersonville, Indiana (and later to Louisville, Kentucky) and renamed the train the Kentucky Cardinal. This new train was a daily service; on days when the Cardinal operated, the two trains ran combined between Indianapolis and Chicago. Amtrak ultimately discontinued the Kentucky Cardinal on July 4, 2003.
In the July 2010 issue of Trains magazine, the Cardinal was noted as being one of five routes under consideration for performance improvement. For the Cardinal, the proposed changes include:
In addition, Railfan and Railroad magazine suggested that the train be rerouted to St. Louis as well, with a separate section bound for Chicago.
In early October 2010, Amtrak released a report detailing plans to increase the Cardinal's service from three trains a week to daily service, as well as increasing the train's on-time performance and food service. The January 2011 issue of Trains later revealed that that Amtrak would scrap re-routing and Superliner conversion and instead adopt not only daily service, but also purchasing dome cars to be used along the Chicago-Washington, D.C. portion of the trip. In addition, the routing into Chicago Union Station would be changed and station platforms along the route containing coal dust would be scrubbed and cleaned.
However, obstacles to a daily Cardinal persist. Track capacity is lmited on the Buckingham Branch where the Cardinal operates, preventing frequent freight trains from passing a daily Cardinal This problem applies to the future Greenbrier Presidential Express train, which would also traverse the Buckingham Branch on a weekly basis. The Buckingham Branch requires additional funding to expand several sidings before allowing additional service.
In the early 1990s, the Cardinal ran with the usual Amtrak long-distance consist of two F40s/E60 plus several MHC and material handling baggage cars, followed by several Amfleet coaches, an Amfleet lounge, a Heritage diner, two or three Heritage 10-6 sleepers, a slumbercoach, and finally, a baggage dormitory car. Following the delivery of the Superliner II fleet, however, the Cardinal was re-equipped with Superliner cars in 1995. As a result, its route was truncated to end in Washington D.C. as the Superliner equipment could not run into Penn Station, New York, due to low clearances there. With the Superliner equipment, the consist would usually be two Superliner sleeping cars, a diner, a Sightseer Lounge, a baggage coach, and a coach.
In 2002, two derailments on other routes took numerous Superliner cars out of service. Because of this, insufficient Superliner equipment was available for use on the Cardinal. The Cardinal was re-equipped with a consist of single-level long-distance cars, including dining, lounge, sleeping, and dormitory cars. Subsequent fleet shortages shortened the Cardinal further, and at one point, the train was running with two or three Amfleet II coaches and a combined diner-lounge car. While the sleeping car was later restored, the Cardinal has not had a dormitory car or a diner since. Similarly, though the baggage car was also removed, it was restored in response to an upturn in patronage in mid-2010. The Cardinal currently runs with a single General Electric P40DC or P42DC engine, a Heritage fleet baggage car, a single Viewliner sleeping car, three (sometimes four during peak travel periods) Amfleet II long-distance coaches, and a single diner-lounge car.
|Illinois||Chicago||Chicago Union Station||Amtrak: Blue Water, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, California Zephyr, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service, Hoosier State, Illini, Illinois Zephyr, Lake Shore Limited, Lincoln Service, Pere Marquette, Saluki, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine, Thruway Motorcoach
CTA Buses: 1, 7, 14, 19, 20, X20, X28, 56, 60, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 151, 156, 157, 192
CTA Subway Stops: Clinton Blue Line, Quincy Brown, Orange, Pink, and Purple Lines
Megabus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M6, M7
Metra: North Central Service, Milwaukee District/North Line, Milwaukee District/West Line, BNSF Railway Line, Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service
|Indiana||Dyer||Dyer Amtrak Station||EasyGo Lake Transit: Red Route (at Main/Calumet intersection)|
|Rensselaer||Rensselaer Amtrak station||None|
|Lafayette||Lafayette Amtrak Station||Greyhound Lines
CityBus: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 4A, 4B, 5, 6A, 6B, 7
|Indianapolis||Indianapolis station||Amtrak: Thruway Motorcoach (Burlington Trailways)
IndyGo: Route 16
|Ohio||Cincinnati||Cincinnati Union Terminal||SORTA: Route 1|
|Kentucky||Maysville||Maysville station||Maysville Transit|
|South Shore||South Portsmouth-South Shore||None|
|Ashland||Ashland Transportation Center||Greyhound Lines
ABS: All routes
|West Virginia||Huntington||Huntington Amtrak station||Tri-State Transit Authority: 2, 4, 5, 6, 10|
|Charleston||Charleston Amtrak station||KRT: Route 18|
|Hinton||Hinton Amtrak Station|
|White Sulphur Springs||White Sulphur Springs station|
|Virginia||Clifton Forge||Clifton Forge station|
|Staunton||Staunton Amtrak station||Staunton Free Trolley: Green Route
CATS: 250 Connector (at Staunton Visitor Center)
|Charlottesville||Charlottesville Union Station||Amtrak: Crescent, Northeast Regional, Thruway Motorcoach to Richmond, Washington D.C.
CAT: T, 7
|Culpeper||Culpeper||Amtrak: Crescent, Northeast Regional|
|Manassas||Manassas||Amtrak: Crescent, Northeast Regional
VRE: Manassas Line
PRTC: Manassas Metro Direct, OmniLink Manassas
|Alexandria||Alexandria Union Station||Amtrak: Crescent, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
VRE: Fredericksburg Line, Manassas Line
Metro: Blue Line, Yellow Line
|District of Columbia||Washington||Washington Union Station||Amtrak: Capitol Limited, Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter, Thruway Motorcoach to Charlottesville, Virginia
MARC Train: Brunswick Line, Camden Line, Penn Line
Metro: Red Line
Loudoun County Commuter Bus
VRE: Manassas Line, Fredericksburg Line
|Maryland||Baltimore||Baltimore Penn Station||Amtrak: Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
MARC Train: Penn Line
MTA Maryland: Light Rail, 3, 11, 61, 64
|Delaware||Wilmington||Wilmington Station||Amtrak: Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Northeast Regional, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
DART First State: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21, 28, 32, 301
SEPTA Regional Rail: Wilmington/Newark Line
|Pennsylvania||Philadelphia||30th Street Station||Amtrak: Acela Express, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Atlantic City Line
SEPTA City Transit Division: Market-Frankford Line, SEPTA Subway-Surface Trolley Lines (Route 10, Route 11, Route 13, Route 34, Route 36), 9, 30, 31, 44, 62, 121, 316
SEPTA Suburban Transit Division: 124, 125
SEPTA Regional Rail: Airport Line, Warminster Line, Wilmington/Newark Line, West Trenton Line, Media/Elwyn Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Paoli/Thorndale Line, Manayunk/Norristown Line, Cynwyd Line, Trenton Line, Chestnut Hill East Line, Chestnut Hill West Line, Fox Chase Line
|New Jersey||Trenton||Trenton Rail Station||Amtrak: Acela Express, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line, River Line, 409, 418, 600, 601, 604, 606, 608, 609, 611, 619
SEPTA Regional Rail: Trenton Line
SEPTA Suburban Transit Division: Route 127
|Newark||Newark Penn Station||Amtrak: Acela Express, Carolinian, Crsecent, Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Newark City Subway, Newark Light Rail, North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Raritan Valley Line, 1, 5, 21, 34, 40, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 108, 308, 319
Coach USA: 31, 44
|New York||New York City||Penn Station||Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Carolinian, Crescent, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
LIRR: Main Line
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1 2 3 A C E trains
NYC Transit buses: M4, M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cardinal (train)|