Serving Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, and intermediate points

Amtrak train numbers: 850 and 851

Predecessor railroad train numbers: None

Inaugurated December 17, 1999, the Kentucky Cardinal replaced the Hoosier State as the Chicago-Indianapolis train operated by Amtrak on the days when the tri-weekly Cardinal doesn't operate, with extended service to Jeffersonville, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville. The Kentucky Cardinal equipment is combined with the Cardinal at Indianapolis three days a week; on the other four days, it runs as its own train into Chicago.

Primarily because of the fairly poor condition of the track in southern Indiana, the train runs on a leisurely all-night schedule. There are no sleeping cars, and the only food available is vending machine snacks.

On December 4, 2001, the route was extended into Louisville itself, providing the city with its first Amtrak train service since the Floridian was discontinued in 1979.

The original raison d'etre for the Kentucky Cardinal was to have been freight business, with Amtrak originally trying to land a contract to carry UPS shipments between Louisville and Chicago. That didn't work out, and with Amtrak exiting the freight business beginning in 2002, plus the low passenger counts, the train's days were numbered. The last run of the Kentucky Cardinal was July 6, 2003.

The four-day-a-week Chicago-Indianapolis service continued after July 6th, using the Cardinal name.

Condensed historical timetables:

   READ DOWN                            READ UP
(1999)  (2002)                      (2002)  (1999)
 8:10P   7:45P Dp Chicago        Ar  8:37A  10:05A
 1:13A   1:25A    Indianapolis       4:50A   4:41A
 8:40A   6:45A    Jeffersonville    10:10P  10:25P
 -----   7:30A Ar Louisville     Dp  9:20P   -----

The Amtrak Train Names Project

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