How likely to make a Capitol Ltd/SWC connection?

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mitako

Train Attendant
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
89
I'm in the planning stages of a cross-country trip. One leg would be Capitol Ltd from DC to Chicago, where I will catch the SWC back home to Los Angeles. Is the CL normally on time into Chicago? Would you consider this a safe enough connection? We'll already have spent a couple of days in Chicago on the trip east, so I'd prefer not to book a hotel there on the way home if possible. Current schedule calls for CL arriving in Chicago at 8:45 AM and SWC departing Chicago at 2:50 PM.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
963
Location
QB 101
Is the CL normally on time into Chicago? Rarely. But the times I've ridden #29 into CHI over the past 10 years or so, I've never been more than an hour or so late.

As for making the connections, I just checked the online historical database https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/connections.php?a_train_num=29&c_train_num=3&station=chi&date_start=01/01/2019&date_end=07/13/2019&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&buffer_mins=5&sort_dir=DESC&dfon=1 for #29 to #3 at CHI from Jan 1 this year to today, and the connection was missed only twice. So, unless there's really bad weather or a freight derailment blocking the way, you should be able to catch #3 with no problems.
 

TinCan782

Engineer
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
3,330
Location
LAX
I don't even consider making a same day connection anymore. I always schedule an overnight hotel stay in connecting cities such as Chicago, Seattle, Portland, etc.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
925
Location
MI
It depends on your appetite for risk. Would I consider that a safe connection, absolutely not. I build in the overnight for Chicago every time.
 

shelzp

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 26, 2012
Messages
354
I’ve taken that route many times and never had a problem plus I figure if Amtrak issues me the ticket all the way through (meaning don’t buy it in segments-have your ticket issued as one trip from WAS-LAX) it will turn out ok because then I’m in their hands. I know things can go wrong from time to time but I’m saying what my overall thinking is. And when I say have the ticket as one trip I mean in each direction, not issued as a round-trip, because if you miss any little segment they might cancel your ticket. I don’t have any experience with that particular problem but have seen it discussed here.
 

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
840
Location
Chicago, IL
Is the CL normally on time into Chicago? Rarely. But the times I've ridden #29 into CHI over the past 10 years or so, I've never been more than an hour or so late.

As for making the connections, I just checked the online historical database https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/connections.php?a_train_num=29&c_train_num=3&station=chi&date_start=01/01/2019&date_end=07/13/2019&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&buffer_mins=5&sort_dir=DESC&dfon=1 for #29 to #3 at CHI from Jan 1 this year to today, and the connection was missed only twice. So, unless there's really bad weather or a freight derailment blocking the way, you should be able to catch #3 with no problems.
I expanded your juckins.net search to include all days from 1/1/18 and beyond, and only saw 4 missed connections. So I suspect mitako, will be able to make the #29 to #3 connection going west fine. And in general, Southwest Chief(#4 going east) is less delayed getting into Chicago, vs. the California Zephyr (#6 going east).

Be glad you aren't transferring from train #6, and trying to connect to any train before the last 2 of the day (City of New Orleans/#59 at 8:05pm, and Lake Shore Limited at 9:30pm). Other than those 2, I'd be wary about connecting from train #6 to any train in Chicago (except #59 and #48/448), with how late train 6 often is into Chicago. No wonder some years back for the Chicago-Quincy Illinois schedule, that Amtrak stopped showing as an option on such timetables (and also in their reservation system) to board #6 at Galesburg, to travel east into Chicago. This is correct, if you're in Galesburg and trying to go east, now you only can ride either of the 2 IL trains that started in Quincy, or take #4 Southwest Chief from LA to Chicago. Train #6 going east is no longer an option for Galesburg passengers trying to get to Chicago, due to how VERY late train #6 often is getting into Galesburg!
 

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