Amtrak Cardinal: 11 Things You Need To Know Before Riding

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The Amtrak Cardinal hits the major east coast US cities going from Chicago to New York by way of Washington D.C.

Does the Cardinal have a dining car

The Cardinal does have a dining car. The dining car on the Cardinal serves the flexible dining menu. Dining car meals are included in the ticket price of sleeping coach passengers and will be available for purchase to coach passengers in late 2022.

There is also a cafe on board the Cardinal, which is located in the middle of the train near the dining car. The cafe is open to all passengers to purchase hot and cold food throughout the day.

Amtrak Cardinal Viewliner Dining Room
Cardinal Dining Car

What is an Amtrak Cardinal Roomette Like

The roomette on the Amtrak Cardinal will be a Viewliner Roomette. They feature two chairs that face each other during the day. At night the two chairs slide together to form a lower bed and the upper berth folds down from the ceiling. There are no bathrooms or showers in the Viewliner II roomettes, but Viewliner I roomettes will have a toilet and sink. Bathrooms and showers are located down the hall for Viewliner II passengers.

Doors on viewliner roomettes will lock from the inside, but not the outside when you are out of your room. Access to the car is limited to sleeping coach passengers.

There is only one power outlet in the viewliner roomette, so be sure to bring an adapter or portable charging station, as we’ve talked about in our 20 must have items for an Amtrak trip.

Amtrak Viewliner II Roomette
Viewliner II Roomette on the Cardinal

What Is A Cardinal Bedroom Like

Bedrooms on the Cardinal will be Viewliner Bedrooms and are more spacious than a roomette. During the day a bedroom will have a couch on one side and a chair that faces it on the other. At night the couch folds down like a futon to form the lower bed and the upper berth folds down from the ceiling. Viewliner Bedrooms have a private bathroom with an all in one shower and toilet area. Next to the couch there is a sink and counter area.

What days does the Cardinal run

The Amtrak Cardinal runs 3 times every week in both east and west directions. The eastbound departure from Chicago is at 5:55pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The westbound departures from New York City are at 6:45am on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The Cardinal is not a hop on hop off train, you’ll need a ticket each time you get off and get back on the next day.

Where Should You Stay In New York City and Chicago

If you’d like to stay close to Union Station before or after your visit, we recommend the Hyatt Place Chicago Downtown – The Loop, which is about a 5 minute walk from the station. We have also stayed at the La Quinta near the station and loved it.

When riding the Cardinal from New York City our favorite hotel is the Fairfield Inn & Suites. It is located right next to Moynihan Train Hall.

Does The Amtrak Cardinal Have Sleeper Cars

The Amtrak Cardinal has comfortable sleeper cars that will transport you from Chicago to New York City while you sleep. It is a viewliner train and features sleeping cars such as a roomette, bedroom and accessible bedroom.

Does the Cardinal have WiFi

The Amtrak Cardinal does have WiFi. While many Amtrak trains have WiFi connections on board, some do not, so it is always good to check. The WiFi will not be faster than you cell phone connection though, but if you want to save data or use a computer it is a good option.

Does the Cardinal have an observation car

The Lake Shore Limited does not have an observation car. Observation cars are only found on Superliner trains, which operate going west from Chicago. No train that visits New York City will have an observation car.

How long are the stops on the Cardinal

Most stops on the Amtrak Cardinal are 3 minutes. Every few hours there is a fresh air break stop, which lasts 10-15 minutes, and a few times on the trip there will be a crew change stop which will last around 30 minutes. You are allowed to get off the train during a fresh air break or a crew change stop but not the shorter stops. You should never leave the platform and you should be ready to board when all aboard is called.

Is the Cardinal Worth It

The Amtrak Cardinal is a great experience and worth the cost. Since it feature more spacious Viewliner cars and only travels for 1 night, it is a great trip for first time Amtrak riders. The Cardinal is totally worth doing and a good value for the money spent.

Where does the Amtrak Cardinal stop

Robert Marmion
Rob is married to Allie and together they have been traveling the world for the past 5 years. Rob is one of the most published photographers in the world, having published over 1 million images in the last 20 years. He enjoys doing landscape and astrophotography while on the road.