Amtrak RoutesIllini

Amtrak Illini Route Guide

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The Amtrak Illini will take you from Carbondale to Chicago. This particular route is the same as the Saluki route in the opposite direction. You will be treated to beautiful views as you depart the Carbondale station and head to Chicago

The Illini will take you from Carbondale to Chicago via Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia and Du Quoin.

Train Info

Observation Car No
Dining CarNo
Distance310 Miles
Time5 Hours

Ticket Options

On the Illini you can purchase tickets in these categories (sample summer fares for 2 people):

  • Coach ($65)
  • Business ($132)

Scenic Views

The Illini train route is part of the Amtrak Illinois Service with the Saluki, Carl Sandburg and the Cardinal. This train is mainly used as a commuter train. You will mainly enjoy the city views contrasted with the rural views.

The Amtrak Illini goes to Chicago

Major Stations

The Amtrak Illini notable and major stations are Chicago, Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia and Du Quoin and Carbondale.

States Visited

The Amtrak Illini only travels through the state of Illinois.

Station Reviews

The Illini has terminus stations of Chicago on one end and Carbondale on the other. Chicago Union Station is a tourist attraction as well as a very busy inter modal station. You will want to arrive a bit early to tour the station. There are plenty of options for food and shops if you need anything while you are waiting. It also has a very nice Metropolitan Lounge as well as free baggage check. Carbondale Station has very few services available but does have baggage check and is staffed.

Chicago Union Station

Union Station in Chicago is perhaps the finest Amtrak station in the country. It offers easy access in the heart of Downtown Chicago and features the best Metropolitan Lounge you will find. There are plenty of fast food restaurants within the station where you can get food to bring back to the new 2 level Metropolitan Lounge. The entire station has a nice decor that makes you feel like you are about to take a special trip.

Union Station 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.

Carbondale Station

Carbondale Station is a small station and does not have a lot to offer. It is a small waiting area with a few services. You can check your bags at this station and there are also vending machines.

Trip Planning

The Illini can be paired with several other trains for a longer vacation. You can jump on any train leaving Chicago, of which some of our favorites are the Lake Shore Limited and the Cardinal.

Booking Tickets on the Amtrak Illini

Tickets for Amtrak can be booked at or by using their app on your phone. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL.

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.