Serving Chicago, Muncie, Cincinnati, Charlottesville, Washington, D.C. or Newport News and intermediate points
Amtrak train numbers: 50 and 51
Predecessor railroad train numbers: New York Central 3 and 4
The New York Central Railroad's James Whitcomb Riley, named for the Indiana poet, was a regular passenger train making a daytime trip between Chicago and Cincinnati. It managed to survive into the Amtrak era in 1971, making a connection in Cincinnati with the George Washington for service to Washington and Newport News.
On July 12, 1971, Amtrak combined the James Whitcomb Riley and the George Washington into one train, now operating from Boston and Newport News to Chicago, with the James Whitcomb Riley name only used westbound. The Boston portion of the service was eventually truncated back to Washington, and the train's name became James Whitcomb Riley in both directions.
In 1974, the route through Indiana was switched because of a freight railroad's desire to downgrade their track; instead of Indianapolis, the James Whitcomb Riley now went from Cincinnati to Chicago through Muncie.
With the new October 30, 1977, timetable change, the train was renamed the Cardinal.
Condensed historical timetables:
READ DOWN READ UP
(1956) (1972) (1975) (1975) (1972) (1956)
----- 4:35P 3:55P Dp Newport News Ar 2:35P ----- -----
----- 5:50P 5:10P Washington 1:30P ----- -----
----- 8:05P 7:40P Charlottesville 11:00A ----- -----
8:30A 7:40A 7:40A Cincinnati 11:32P ----- 11:00P
9:37A 10:10A ----- Indianapolis ----- ----- 8:00P
----- ----- 9:30A Muncie 7:25P ----- -----
1:20P 1:15P 2:42P Ar Chicago Dp 2:35P ----- 4:20P
The Amtrak Train Names Project