Trains 50 & 51, The Cardinal

Amtrak's service on this route began as separate trains: the James Whitcomb Riley, from Chicago to Cincinnati using the old Big Four (NYC) route through Kankakee and Indianapolis; and, the George Washington from Cincinnati east, along the C&O line, with sections for both Washington, DC, and Newport News. The trains were combined on July 12, 1971, using one name eastbound and the other westbound. The train used the Illinois Central station in Chicago until March 6, 1972, when it moved to Union Station. From October 29, 1972, the trains used a new portable station in Cincinnati, on the connecting track between the Big Four and C&O lines. (Service returned to Cincinnati's Union Station in the 1990s.)

Chicago Union Station to 21st Street and Halsted Street

St. Charles Air Line

South Wye Junction to BRC Connections

BRC Connections to BOCT Connection

BOCT Connection to Harvey

Harvey to Richton

Richton to Kankakee

Kankakee to Templeton

Templeton to Lafayette (Altamont)

Altamont to Brant

Brant to IJ (Indianapolis)

IJ to Washington Street (Indianapolis)

Washington Street to Greensburg

Greensburg to Valley Junction

Storrs Junction to Valley Junction

RH Tower to Storrs Junction

From January 23, 1972, the Chicago to Cincinnati routing moved to the ex-Pennsylvania: Chicago to Indianapolis, via Logansport, and from October 16, 1973 Indianapolis to Cincinnati, via Richmond, IN. From May 19, 1974, the trains became known as the James Whitcomb Riley over the entire route in both directions.

Chicago Union Station to 21st Street and Halsted Street

21st Street to Englewood

Englewood to CP 509/River Junction

CP 509/River Junction to Colehour Junction (and Hammond-Whiting)

Colehour Junction to Bernice

Bernice to Maynard

Maynard to Peoria Junction (Logansport)

Peoria Junction to Anoka (Logansport)

Anoka to Anderson

Routes into and out of Indianapolis varied on a day-to-day  basis according to traffic, moving from the north to Indianapolis either from Peoria Junction or Anderson and from Indianapolis to the east either via Anderson or Richmond

Peoria Junction to CP Clermont

CP Clermont to Indianapolis (CP IJ)

CP IJ to Washington Street (Downtown Indianapolis)

Washington Street to Belt Junction (Indianapolis)

Belt Junction (Indianapolis) to Anderson

Washington Street to Richmond

Anderson to New Castle

New Castle to Richmond and Hamilton

Evendale to Hamilton

Winton Place to Evendale

Cincinnati to Winton Place

The train began detouring on the ex-C&O route between Chicago and Cincinnati on August 1, 1974, with a connection via Erie-Lackawanna between Hammond and Griffith, IN using C&O trackage rights that were relinquished at the start of Conrail on April 1, 1976, leading to a divergence onto a C&O line between Pine Junction and La Crosse, IN, on June 12, 1977. The train became the Cardinal on October 30, 1977.

Hohman Avenue (Hammond) to Griffith

Griffith to La Crosse

Pine Junction to Wellsboro

Wellsboro to La Crosse

La Crosse to Peru

Peru to Muncie

Muncie to Richmond

Richmond to Cottage Grove

"Cincinnati" to Cottage Grove

The route between Cottage Grove, IN, and Cincinnati switched to the B&O via Hamilton, OH,  (see below) on July 17, 1978, due to closure of the C&O route between those points. The train was shut down between September 30, 1981, and January 8, 1982, due to political maneuvering. The Hoosier State began running on the former Monon line out of Chicago (see below) on October 1, 1980, with a hiatus from September 8, 1995, to July 19, 1998, latterly running only on the days when the Cardinal does not run.

The train moved to the former Monon line from Chicago to Crawfordsville, IN, and Conrail thence through Indianapolis (see below) to the B&O Indianapolis line on which it was already running, on April 28, 1986. Its exit from Chicago was moved to the C&EI via Dolton and Thornton Junctions on June 30, 1993.

Chicago Union Station to 21st Street and Halsted Street

21st Street to 76th Street +

81st Street to Dolton Junction

Dolton Junction to Thornton Junction

Thornton Junction to Maynard

Maynard to Dyer & St. Johns

Dyer to Monon

Monon to Lafayette

The route in Lafayette ran down Fifth Street until moved to its current alignment on July 22, 1994

Lafayette to Ames

Ames to Indianapolis (CP IJ)

Downtown Indianapolis

Indianapolis to Hamilton

Winton Place to Hamilton

CT Junction to Winton Place

Cincinnati Union Terminal

From 1973 to July 29, 1991, when it returned to CUT, the train used a prefabiricated station on River Road, below the 6th Street Viaduct.

CT Junction to KC Junction (Greater Cincinnati)

KC Junction to Melbourne

Melbourne to NJ Cabin

NJ Cabin to Big Sandy Junction

Big Sandy Junction to Barboursville

Barboursville to St. Albans

St. Albans to Clifton Forge

Clifton Forge to Gordonsville

Gordonsville to Orange

Orange to Manassas Junction

Manassas Junction to AF Tower

AF Tower to Virginia Avenue Junction

Washington Union Terminal (Virginia Avenue Junction to New York Avenue)

The Cardinal has operated to New York between November 14, 1971 and April 30, 1972 (actually, to and from Boston), January 8, 1982 and September 10, 1995, and since October 26, 2003.

New York Avenue to Landover

Landover to Baltimore

Baltimore to Perryville

Perryville to Newark, DE

Newark, DE to Arsenal (Philadelphia)

Zoo Interlocking to Arsenal (Philadelphia)

Zoo Interlocking to North Philadelphia

North Philadelphia to Frankford Junction

Frankford Junction to Trenton

Rahway to Trenton

Hunter to Rahway

Kearney Connection to Hunter

Penn Station (New York City) to Kearney Connection

Penn Station (New York City)

From the inception of Amtrak to June 14, 1976, a section of the train ran between Charlottesville and Newport News, VA.