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Is there enough time between arrival @ ORD and train departure?

Hello there!

Just wanted to get some third-party opinions on this one, since I am completely unfamiliar with Chicago, the airport, the "average" customs situation, and transportation within Chicago:

I will be arriving in ORD at 2:10pm on an international flight on a Wednesday and am planning on catching the Capitol Limited Amtrak from Chicago's Union Station to Washington DC, scheduled departure time is at 6:40pm.

I feel like that should be enough time to get out of customs, collect my luggage, and continue into town to Union Station. Hopefully even grab a bite to eat before catching the train.

What are your thoughts on that, or is it potentially going to be a tight situation? (Of course, I'm basing that off of the assumption that this flight will land on time :-)

Thanks a lot!

6 Answers

top answer by
Lauren from Chicago


You should have no issues with that timing. Depending on your arrival time you may have a line at customs, but making a departure from Chicago Union Station Main Entrance at 6:40pm should not be a problem. I would take the Blue Line from O'hare to the Clinton stop and it should take under an hour - then you'll have plenty of time to grab a bite and maybe grab a quick glimpse of the city! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chicago Union Station Main Entrance (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Dan from Chicago

Assuming you get in to Chicago on time you will have more than enough time.  If traffic is bad, you can take the Blue line from O'Hare International Airport and it will take you right in to the city (~4 blocks from union station).

If you take the Blue line it will cost you 2.25 USD.  Its about a 45 minute ride from O'Hare and you will exit the train at Clark/Lake.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chicago (city)
  2. O'Hare International Airport (attraction)
  3. union station (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Dabs from Chicago

Theoretically you should be able to make it, I budget about an hour to go through the international terminal and collect my luggage but I'm not a foreign citizen so it might take you a little longer.  You then have to locate the CTA station and take the el into Chicago which takes about an hour.  It is now $5 from O'Hare into the city and you will want the Clinton stop which is the closest to Union Station.  If everything goes smoothly it should be 3 -3 1/2 hours and you've got 4 1/2 hours, not really a lot of cushion so don't dilly dally until you actually get near Union Station.

1 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Alex from Minneapolis

Yes you should have enough time, it takes about an hour by train to get to the city from the airport. You might even be able to do some sight seeing! 

1 thanks

answered by
A from Chicago

Hi Zac, I'm not going to mince words because if you're already on your journey, you don't have the time to spare reading a long response. It will be a time-squeeze. Good luck and Godspeed. 

answered by
sav from Chicago


That's more then enough time. If you take the public train back (CTA, blue line), you'll need about 60 minutes to get to the Clinton stop (from where you can get to Union Station). There's food in union station, but if you wanted to explore a bit, you could get off the blue line at multiple neighborhoods (Wicker Park at the Damen stop, or Downtown at Clark/Lake, Washinton, Monroe, or Jackson) in order to grab a more local meal. 

If you cab, depending on the time of day, taking the train may be quicker (traffic can ramp up after 4PM. With no traffic it will take 30 mins to get to Union, with traffic can take up to 75 minutes). As long as you get out before 3:30, I'd say you have time to stop somewhere and get food.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. union station (attraction)
  2. Wicker Park (neighborhood)

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