Washington DC to Chicago, Illinois Amtrak Train Numbers 29 (westbound) and 30 (eastbound)
There are a few different routes that you may travel by train between Washington DC and Chicago; the Capitol Limited is the most direct taking about 17 1/2 hours on its overnight trip. On the way you’ll pass through historic Harper’s Ferry as you cross the Maryland/West Virginia border for the first time. In West Virginia, make sure to get a couple of shots of the Martinsburg Roundhouse, a major B&O service center in its heyday. Just north of Martinsburg you’ll meet back up with the Potomac River and travel its banks, and those of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, along the West Virginia/Maryland border to Cumberland in Western Maryland. From Cumberland it’s a short ride through one of the narrowest parts of Maryland into Pennsylvania on your way to Pittsburgh.
If you’re a football fan and want to go see the Steelers, Browns, or Notre Dame play, this is your train. The overnight stops include Pittsburgh, Alliance, Ohio and Cleveland and early the next day you’ll arrive in South Bend. In Pittsburgh, Heinz Field is just a couple of blocks to the west across the Allegheny. The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is 25 miles to the southwest of Alliance via U.S. 62, and the Amtrak stop in Cleveland is just steps away from Cleveland Browns stadium.
In Northern Indiana, try starting your day with a hearty breakfast while gazing out at the farmland and industrial activity along the route on the way to South Bend, home of the “Fighting Irish”. From there you’re just an hour or so (assuming no slow frieghts in front of you) to Amtrak’s Chicago Union Station hub where you can connect to many other great long distance trains.
The rail travel distance between Washington DC and Chicago via the Capitol Limited is 780 miles and the rail travel time is about 18 hours and 40 minutes.