Amtrak Route Scrapbooks


amtk_route_Cardinal The Cardinal is a three-times-a-week long distance passenger train operated by Amtrak between New York Penn Station and Chicago Union Station, with major intermediate stops at Philadelphia, Washington, Charlottesville, Charleston, Huntington, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Trains depart New York on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and depart Chicago on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The 1,146-mile trip between the two ends of the route takes 26.5 hours. The Cardinal is the successor of several previous trains, primarily the New York Central (later Penn Central) James Whitcomb Riley and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway's George Washington. The James Whitcomb Riley was a daytime all-coach train which operated between Chicago and Cincinnati, via Indianapolis, while the George Washington was a C&O sleeper that ran between Cincinnati, Washington, and Newport News, Virginia. Both routes survived until the formation of Amtrak in 1971. The current Cardinal operates over Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, Buckingham Branch Railroad, Canadian National Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Metra trackage and uses standard single-level Amtrak equipment from the Amfleet and Viewliner rosters.

Between the front door of America's Eastern Seaboard, Amtrak's famous Northeast Corridor, and the equally well-known delights of the Windy City, Chicago, lies the gateway to the American South and the unparalleled wonders of the journey westward through America's mid-Atlantic and southeastern heartlands. From twinkling Northeast cityscapes to famous Civil War battlefields; from the Blue Ridge Mountain chain and the Shenandoah Valley to West Virginia's wild and wonderful whitewater rivers; from the fabulous window on geologic history at the New River Gorge to the Kanawha River's thunder into a 1,300-ft. canyon below; from quiet coal mining towns to the beautifully illuminated nighttime skyline of Charleston, the capital city, and on to the great plains and Chicago -- the Cardinal takes you on an unforgettable journey through history and adventure.



Cardinal route map / web


1967 timetable

Charlottesville, Virginia

Click to see the Charlottesville station area plotted on a Google Maps page
charlottesville18a charlottesville18b charlottesville18c charlottesville18d

Charlottesville, Va / Nov 2016 / RWH

Amtrak #39

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:P42DC
  • type:B-B passenger unit
  • built:Dec 1996, GE #49577
  • series:321 produced 1992-2001
  • engine:GE 7FDL16 (16 cyl, 4250 hp)
  • notes:
  • 1 of 207 Genesis units at top of roster
  • builder
    tag_listAmtrak #51 consist - November 4, 2016
    all photos above Charlottesville, Va / Nov 2016 / RWH

    Thurmond, West Virginia

    May 2016

    On my way home to Pennsylvania from an excellent Saturday chasing Norfolk & Western #611 across central Virginia with my brother-in-law, on Sunday I made an impromptu stop across the New River in Thurmond, West Virginia. What I love about railfanning is the element of surprise: some locations on some days yield nothing in the way of action; others yield everything. Thurmond this Sunday morning turned out to be the right place at the right time. When I rolled up to the historic depot, I noticed there was some folks with luggage standing around. I checked on my phone: Sure enough, the Cardinal was running almost an hour late that morning. I would be able to catch it's station stop. Then I noticed a westbound CSX freight on the far side of the depot, stopped by a control point signal. Before long, it became clear that he was waiting, not for the eastbound Cardinal, but for yet another CSX freight that had to come through before #50 could do its station work. The dispatcher cleared the two freights, and then the familiar profile of a Genesis unit appeared under the Thurmond signal masts. #50 rolled in, dropped off and took on a handful of Sunday travellers, then highballed out of Thurmond for Chesapeake & Ohio points east -- thus fulfilling one more time the time-honored American flag stop routine. Three trains in one hour, in a great location: That's what I love about railfanning. It was a great morning to visit the otherwise sleepy little town of Thurmond, West Virginia.

    Click to see the Thurmond depot historical area plotted on a Google Maps page
    See also our complete Thurmond West Virginia historical collection in Preservation

    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2016-11-21