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