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Amtrak Illinois FAQ

New to Amtrak? We might have some answers to your questions.

How do I Purchase Tickets?
You may order tickets by phone at 1-800-USA-Rail (1- 800-872-7245), where you will be greeted by “Julie”, Amtrak's state of the art voice recognition system.  .  After a prompt that lower fares maybe available online, you then have the option of making your reservation with Amtrak's automated system or saying “agent” or pressing “0” to talk to a live operator. 

Also, you can book 24 hours a day online at . offers the most up-to-date pricing. The lowest fares are listed under the Hot Deals section.  When you get there have your basic travel information ready and fill in fare finder. 

With a credit card and sufficient lead time you can receive your tickets by mail to directly by Fed Ex for a fee, or you may pick them at up a staffed Amtrak station with cash, credit, or debit cards. The following stations have ticket agents or a Quik-Trak self-service ticketing kiosk: Alton , Bloomington-Normal, Carbondale , Champaign , Chicago ,   Galesburg , Glenview, Homewood , Joliet , Naperville ,  Springfield , Macomb and St. Louis , MO.  You may also obtain tickets through your , local travel agent.  For more information on booking your trip click here.


What do I do at an unstaffed Amtrak station?
Everyone needs a reservation to travel on Amtrak.  Make your reservations with a travel agent, 1-800-USA-Rail, or If you pay with a credit card you well in advance your tickets may be mailed to you directly by Fed Ex for a fee.  Some stations offer Advance Purchase with Conductor Delivery on the train.  Be sure to let the “agent” know that you will be purchasing the tickets on the train , then board the train at your unstaffed station.  .  Amtrak will not accept personal checks.   , then board the train at your unstaffed station.  If you have received tickets by mail or from your travel agent, present them to the conductor along with your identification.  To purchase tickets on board the train, provide your reservation number, ID and fare amount to the conductor using cash or credit card.


How can I check the status of my train?
Call 1-800-USA RAIL and use the automated voice system or go to


What do I need to get on the train?
In order to board the train you will need a ticket (or reservation number) and an official form of identification, such as a state issued ID or driver's license, passport, government agency ID.


Can I eat and drink on the trains?
Yes.  All trains have a snack car and long-distance trains have a dining car with a substantial menu.  Most trains offer alcoholic beverages.  You can also bring your own snacks on the train and consume them at your own seat.  Bringing your own alcoholic beverages and consuming them in public is prohibited. 


Can I smoke on the trains?
Trains, Thruway motor coaches, and stations are entirely non-smoking.   Passengers maybe able to smoke on station platforms at longer stops announced by train crews, but must remain next to the track and ready to re board immediately.  Smoking stops maybe cut short or eliminated if the train is running late.


What is Thruway Bus Service?
Thruway bus service is a convenient way to reach many cities not served by rail.  Thruway provides transportation to the Amtrak station.  Purchasing Thruway tickets is simple; it is done the same way and at the same time as you book your train ticket.  Thruway Bus service in Illinois includes: South Beloit/Rockford to Chicago , ; Davenport , Moline , Peoria Airport and Danville to Galesburg , Bloomington-Normal, Champaign and Indianapolis , ; and Carbondale to St. Louis .


What about my luggage?
Most Illinois trains offer carry-on luggage/baggage.  For carry-on luggage there is a two piece limit.  Nothing may weight over 50 lbs.  Not included in this limit are personal items like briefcases, purses, laptops and infant paraphernalia.  Items like golf clubs and bicycles have to be handled as checked baggage.  Long-distance trains offer checked baggage with a limit of three pieces at no charge, $10.00 per piece over three.  Baggage must be checked in at least 30 minutes prior to departure.  Nothing may weigh over 50 lbs and it must be in a suitable container. 


Can I bring my bike with me?
Passengers may bring their bikes on certain trains - the Illini, Saluki, Lincoln Service, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandberg - for $10 per bike.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Owners must loosen handlebars and turn them sideways to fit bikes into overhead luggage racks.  The bicycle must be handled by the owner and saddle bags must be removed.


What do I do if someone I am traveling with has special needs?
Customer with disabilities, senior citizens and others needing special seating or assistance, such as wheelchair, special food service (72 hours advance notice needed) or baggage assistance should call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL as far in advance of travel as possible.


Why are the trains late?
There are numerous reasons for train delays.  Amtrak operates over track owned by private freight railroad companies, which control train movements and dictate the use of the track.  Sometimes Amtrak has to follow or allow the freight trains to pass; sometimes meeting another Amtrak train causes delays and other times track conditions or construction will slow Amtrak down.


What can I do in Illinois Amtrak Cities?


Where can I find maps of Chicago ?
Take Amtrak to the Heart of Chicago has routes where commuter trains run and also has points of interest and hotels labeled.

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