Amtrak Lake Shore Limited Chicago to New York

There’s much to see in America but whilst flying is quick and usually convenient, I like to see the country that I’m passing through so I really like travelling by train.

Although it has a shocking reputation, rail services in the United States do allow you to travel through much of the country in comfort, with the bonus that trains usually off er much better views than you’ll get from a coach or car.

Amtrak runs a number of interesting trains, one of which is the Lake Shore Limited which runs from Chicago to New York City with an additional service which connects with the train at Albany-Rensselaer continuing through to Boston.

The Lake Shore Limited is a daily service whose route covers a distance of 959 miles (1,543kms) and takes 18 hours to complete. It gets its name from the fact that it does, for much of its journey, follow waterways. These include running along the south shore of Lake Michigan, then following the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal and the Hudson River into New York.

The train leaves from Chicago’s Union Station and heads east to its first stop at South Bend, Indiana, which is named after a bend in the St Joseph’s River and is where Notre Dame University is located. The train proceeds to Elkhart, which bills itself as the `mobile home capital of the world’, because of the number of RV’s built there, carrying on a tradition which once saw it called the `brass instrument capital of the world’ because Elkhart just loves to be known for something.

Next stop is Waterloo, Indiana and despite this station being one of the busiest stops in Waterloo it is unmanned. Bryan, Ohio is the next stop, and it is easily recognisable by the red, white and blue water tower. East of Bryan is the longest straight section of the track, which has 68.5 miles without a curve until it reaches Toledo. This is where the Maumee River meets Lake Erie, and Toledo carries the epithet for being the `glass capital of the world’.

Further east is Sandusky, where the station boasts an historic ticket office and waiting room that was built in 1892. Sad little Elyria, Ohio is the next stop, with the station buildings consisting of two trailer bolted together. Amtrak describes Elyria as having no ticket office, no lounge, no ATM, no Quick-Trak kiosk and no Wi-Fi. No wonder it doesn’t bustle with business.

Cleveland is more salubrious as the station is located on the Lake Erie waterfront near the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Union Station in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the next stop on the route is an art deco station built in 1927. The Lake Shore Limited then enters New York State and stops at Buffalo-Depew on the Niagara River opposite Canada. Rochester is next. This former `flour capital of the world’ has a reputation for delaying trains because of the amount of traffic which transits through the town.

Trains also stop at Syracuse, Utica and Schenectady before heading to Albany-Rensselaer where the train splits into two. One part heading east to Boston, and the other heading south to New York City.

They are two more stops before the train terminates, the first is Poughkeepsie, which has a waiting room based on the design for Grand Central Station, and the penultimate stop is Croton-Harman which is just one hour from New York. Finally, the Lake Shore Limited, if it is on time, and it can often be delayed, rolls into Penn Station at 6.35pm to complete a great American journey by train.

2 comments to Amtrak Lake Shore Limited Chicago to New York

  • Jenny

    Fun trip! I’ve taken the Lake Shore Limited many times from New York City to Buffalo and back. One correction: I only wish Amtrak came into the beautiful Grand Central Station! It actually arrives at Penn Station in Manhattan.

  • Thanks Jenny, You are, of course, absolutely correct and, now, so am I.

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