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Hiawatha Service
A Hiawatha Service departs Sturtevant, Wisconsin.
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Operating
Locale Illinois/Wisconsin, United States
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Average ridership 738,231 (an average of 2,023 per day)[1]
Start Milwaukee, Wisconsin
No. of intermediate stops 3
End Chicago, Illinois
Distance travelled 86 mi (138 km)
Average journey time 1 hour, 29 minutes
Service frequency Seven daily each way (Mon - Sat)
Six daily each way (Sun)
Train number(s) 329 - 344
On-board services
Class(es) Standard and business class
Seating arrangements Coach seating (unreserved)
Catering facilities On-board trolley service
Baggage facilities Checked baggage available at Chicago and Milwaukee
Gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Operating speed 57 mph (92 km/h) average
Route map
Distance Station
Unknown route-map component "KBFa"
0 Milwaukee
Stop on track Airport
8 mi (13 km) Milwaukee Airport
Stop on track
23 mi (37 km) Sturtevant
Unrestricted border on track
Wisconsin/Illinois border
Stop on track
68 mi (109 km) Glenview
Unknown route-map component "KBFe"
86 mi (138 km) Chicago Union Station
This route map:   view  talk  edit 

Hiawatha Service or Hiawatha is the name of an 86-mile (138 km) train route operated by Amtrak on the western shore of Lake Michigan, although the name was historically applied to several different routes that extended across the Midwest and out to the Pacific Ocean. As of 2007, fourteen trains (seven round-trips, six on Sunday) run daily between Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin,[2] making intermediate stops in Glenview, Illinois, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and General Mitchell International Airport. The line is partially supported by funds from the state governments of Wisconsin and Illinois.[3] The service carried over 738,000 riders in Amtrak's fiscal 2009 (ending September 30).[1] It is one of the most heavily-used routes in the entire Amtrak system, aside from rail lines on the United States North East and in California. A one-way trip between Milwaukee and Chicago takes about 90 minutes.




Milwaukee Road

Historically, the Hiawathas were operated by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the "Milwaukee Road") and initially traveled from Chicago to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The first Hiawatha trains ran in 1935. By 1946, there were actually four routes carrying the Hiawatha name, Chicago–Minneapolis; Chicago–Omaha; Chicago–Wausau–Minocqua; and Chicago-Minneapolis-Seattle.


Hiawatha logo from the Milwaukee Road days.

Under Amtrak, which assumed control of most intercity passenger rail service in the United States on May 1, 1971, the Hiawatha name survived in two forms. The first was a Chicago-Milwaukee-Minneapolis service, known simply as the Hiawatha. This would be renamed the Twin Cities Hiawatha, then extended to Seattle and renamed the North Coast Hiawatha. This service ended in 1979.[4]

The second was a Chicago–Milwaukee corridor known as the Hiawatha Service (as opposed to Hiawatha). Although Amtrak had retained Chicago–Milwaukee service during the transition, it did not name these trains until October 29, 1972. At this time both Hiawatha and Hiawatha Service could be found on the same timetable. On June 15, 1976, Amtrak introduced Turboliners to the route and the name Hiawatha Service left the timetable, not to return until 1989. The Chicago–Milwaukee trains were known simply as "Turboliners" (as were comparable trains on the Chicago-Detroit and Chicago–St. Louis corridors) until October 26, 1980, when Amtrak introduced individual names for each of the trains. This practice ended on October 29, 1989, when the name Hiawatha Service returned as an umbrella term for all Chicago–Milwaukee service.[5]

It is proposed that the Hiawatha Service, along with the Empire Builder would shift one stop north to North Glenview in Glenview, Illinois. This move would eliminate lengthy stops which block traffic on Glenview Road. This move would involve reconstruction of the North Glenview station to handle the additional traffic, and depends on commitments from Glenview, the Illinois General Assembly and Metra.[6]

Corridor names

This table shows the names given to trains which operated over the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor under Amtrak. It excludes long-distance trains such as the Empire Builder and North Coast Hiawatha whose local stopping patterns were restricted. The Abraham Lincoln and Prairie State were Chicago-St. Louis services which Amtrak extended through Chicago to the north in the early 1970s.

1971-11-14 1972-10-29 1973-10-28 1975-11-30 1976-06-15 1980-10-26 1984-10-28 1985-04-28 1989-10-29 Present
Abraham Lincoln  
Prairie State  
  Hiawatha Service  
  Hiawatha Service


A typical Hiawatha consists of one GE Genesis locomotive on one end, an EMD F40PH "cabbage car" on the other, and five Horizon Fleet coaches. In 2008 and 2009, a cabbage car from the Cascades service in the Pacific Northwest has been in use on the Hiawatha.[7][8] Six coaches are used on the weekends during summer months.

On July 17, 2009, the State of Wisconsin announced it will purchase two new train sets from Spanish manufacturer Talgo. Talgo will build a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin to construct the trainsets for the Hiawatha Service, and the company hopes the plant will also build trains for future high-speed lines in the region.

Air connection

In 2005, another station opened on the line, the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station at General Mitchell International Airport. The expansion was intended to facilitate transfer to and from the airport, as well (shuttles run between the station and the main terminal), giving residents on the south side of Milwaukee easier access to the service, along with an alternative to the central station in downtown, which is now fully accessible owing to the completion of the Marquette Interchange. The station was primarily funded and is maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

See also


  1. ^ a b David Schuyler (October 13, 2009). "Amtrak Hiawatha ridership down". The Business Journal (Milwaukee). Retrieved January 8, 2010.  
  2. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (2007-05-01). "Rail Transportation in Wisconsin". Retrieved 2007-12-11.  
  3. ^ Wisconsin Department of Transportation (11 January 2007). "Amtrak Hiawatha Service breaks ridership record". Press release. Retrieved 2007-12-11.  
  4. ^ Goldberg (1981), 30-31; 73.
  5. ^ James Sponholz. "Timeline of Hiawatha Corridor Timetables". Retrieved January 8, 2010.  
  6. ^ "Amtrak eyes moving Ill. station". Railway Track and Structures. November 11, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-08.  
  7. ^
  8. ^


External links


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