Amtrak Lakeshore Limited

The Amtrak Lakeshore Limited is a popular train route that travels through the scenic landscapes of the eastern and midwestern United States. Covering a distance of approximately 959 miles, Lakeshore Limited offers passengers an unforgettable experience as they travel through charming towns, picturesque countryside and famous cities. This article describes the history, routes, amenities and highlights of the Amtrak Lakeshore Limited, explaining why it is one of the most popular and beloved train journeys in the country.

History of The Lakeshore Limited

Lakeshore Limited has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Its roots can be traced to the New York Central Railroad, which operated the first direct train service between New York City and Chicago in 1902. Initially known as the 20th Century Limited, this luxury train service set new standards for comfort, elegance and speed. .

Over the years, the route underwent several changes and mergers, eventually coming under the Amtrak banner in 1971. Today, Lakeshore Limited continues the tradition of its predecessors, offering travelers a blend of modern amenities and a touch of nostalgia.

Todd and Jack Humphrey

Route and scenic highlights

Lakeshore Limited follows a scenic route that takes passengers through some of America’s most beautiful scenery. Departing from New York City’s historic Penn Station, the train makes its way through upstate New York, offering spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley.

Heading west, the train passes through the beautiful regions of Ohio and Indiana. Along the way, travelers can admire the beauty of the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. The train journey ends in the vibrant city of Chicago, known for its iconic skyline and rich cultural heritage.

Lakeshore Limited also offers passengers a unique opportunity to visit some notable cities along its route. For example, a stop in Albany, New York allows travelers to explore the state capital’s historic sites and charming neighborhoods. In Cleveland, Ohio, travelers can explore the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, immersing themselves in the rich history of American music.

Terminals in New York and Chicago

While the Lakeshore Limited passes through various cities and towns along its route, it has separate terminus stations at both ends of the line.

  1. Chicago Union Station, Chicago, Illinois: Amtrak Lakeshore Limited’s western terminus is located at Chicago Union Station, a popular transportation hub in downtown Chicago. Built in 1925, this grand Beaux-Arts style station is an architectural gem and a major transportation hub. Chicago Union Station serves as a hub for several Amtrak routes, including the Lakeshore Limited.

Passengers departing from Chicago Union Station will find a bustling environment with numerous amenities including ticket counters, waiting areas, shops, restaurants, and a variety of services. The station’s historic Great Hall features a magnificent 219-foot-tall barrel-vaulted ceiling, marble columns, and impressive details, creating a sense of grandeur.

  1. South Station, Boston, Massachusetts: For passengers bound for Boston, the Amtrak Lakeshore Limited terminates at South Station. Located in the heart of downtown Boston, South Station is not only a major transportation hub but also a historical landmark. Built in 1899, the station blends architectural styles, including a mixture of Beaux-Arts and Richardsonian Romanesque influences.

South Station offers many amenities for passengers, including ticketing services, waiting areas, dining options, and shopping opportunities. The station is well connected to local transport networks, making it easy for passengers to reach their final destinations within and outside the city. South Station’s bustling atmosphere reflects Boston’s vibrant energy, and its central location ensures easy access to a variety of attractions and neighborhoods.

  1. Penn Station, New York City, New York: The eastern terminus of Amtrak Lakeshore Limited is Penn Station, located in midtown Manhattan, New York City. While the current Penn Station is an underground complex, its predecessor was an architectural marvel designed in the Beaux-Arts style. The original station, which was demolished in the 1960s, was famous for its grandeur and magnificent entrance hall.

Today, Penn Station serves as a bustling transportation hub, with not only Amtrak but also various commuter rail lines and subway connections. Passengers arriving at Penn Station will find many amenities, including ticketing services, waiting areas, dining options, and shopping opportunities. Its central location in Manhattan provides easy access to popular downtown attractions, business centers and neighborhoods.

Both South Station and Penn Station are well integrated into their respective cities’ transportation networks, allowing travelers to easily access other forms of transportation, such as buses, taxis, and subway lines. These terminus stations provide a gateway to vibrant urban destinations, offering visitors a seamless transition from their long-distance train journeys to what the city has to offer.

Todd and Jack Humphrey

Facilities and onboard experience

The Lakeshore Limited offers passengers a comfortable and enjoyable journey, with many amenities and services available on board. The train has spacious seating options, including coach class and sleeper berths. Coach class passengers can relax on wide, reclining seats with plenty of legroom.

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, Lakeshore Limited offers a variety of sleeping accommodations, including rooms and bedrooms. The rooms provide a comfortable private space with a comfortable seat that converts into a bed, while the bedrooms offer more space and additional amenities, including a private shower and toilet.

Passengers traveling in sleeper berths also have access to the train’s exclusive dining car, where they can enjoy fresh meals prepared with locally sourced ingredients. The dining experience on board the Lakeshore Limited is a highlight for many passengers, as they savor delicious meals while watching the changing scenery outside their window.

In addition to comfortable seating and dining options, the train offers free Wi-Fi in select cars, allowing passengers to stay connected during their journey. Power outlets are available at every seat, ensuring passengers can keep their devices charged and entertained throughout the journey.

Tips for a memorable trip

To get the most out of your Lakeshore Limited experience, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, consider booking your tickets in advance, especially if you plan to travel during peak seasons or holidays. This ensures that you secure your preferred seating or sleeping areas.

Next, pack the essentials for your trip, including comfortable clothing, entertainment options, and any necessary medications. While the train provides Wi-Fi and power outlets, it’s always a good idea to bring books, puzzles or other activities to enjoy during the journey.

amtrak train
Todd and Jack Humphrey

Take advantage of the dining car experience when it comes to dining. Lakeshore Limited offers a variety of delicious options, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. However, if you have any special dietary needs or preferences, it is advisable to notify Amtrak in advance.

Finally, take time to explore the towns along the way during scheduled stops. From Albany to Chicago, each city has its own unique attractions and cultural offerings worth exploring. Plan your trip accordingly to ensure you have plenty of time to get out and explore these hidden gems.


Amtrak Lakeshore Limited offers passengers an enchanting journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Eastern and Midwestern United States. From the iconic skylines of New York City and Chicago to the serene beauty of the Great Lakes and everything in between, this train route promises an unforgettable experience. With its amenities, comfortable accommodations, and breathtaking scenery, Lakeshore Limited attracts travelers from around the world. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing trip or an adventure through history and nature, the Lakeshore Limited is the perfect choice for an immersive and scenic train journey across America.