History of passenger rail in Chicago

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During the heyday of rail transportation in the first half of the 20th century, Chicago, Illinois reigned as the undisputed railroad center of the United States and was served by six intercity train terminals. With the decline of rail passenger service many of these facilities disappeared; today only Union Station remains in use in a substantially original form, and is the only one served by Amtrak trains. The Chicago and North Western Passenger Terminal has been replaced with a newer station and renamed Ogilvie Transportation Center, and LaSalle Street Station has also been replaced with a newer facility. Millennium Station is on the site of the pre-1893 Illinois Central Railroad Great Central Station, used since then only for commuter trains. All four stations are used by Metra commuter service.

The table below shows all lines that have served downtown Chicago and what terminal they used. A red background indicates that the railroad owned a part or full share of the terminal.

railroad Great Central Station (1856–1893)
Central Station (1893–1972)
LaSalle Street
Grand Central
Union Station
Wells Street (1881–1911)
North Western (1911–present)
Illinois Central Railroad 1856-1972 (under Amtrak) 1972–present (under Amtrak) Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street) 1893–present (commuter lines only, under Metra)
Chicago, Madison and Northern Railroad (IC) ?-1971 1974-1981 (under Amtrak)
Chicago, Cincinnati and Louisville Railroad (C&O) 1907-1910
1910–1925 1974-1977 (under Amtrak) Hammond ?
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway (NYC) ?-1972 (under Amtrak) 1972-1973 (under Amtrak)
Michigan Central Railroad (NYC) ?-1957 1957–1968 1968–present (under Amtrak)
Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad Millennium Station (formerly Randolph Street) 1912–present (under NICTD)
Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad 1885?-1964
Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad 1885-? 1974-1975 (under Amtrak)
The Monon (Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway) 1885-? 1975-1979 (under Amtrak)
1980–present (under Amtrak)
Chicago and Erie Railroad (Erie) 1885–1970
Grand Trunk Western Railroad 1885–1971
Wabash Railroad (to St. Louis) 1885–1976 1976–present (under Metra)
Wabash Railroad (to Buffalo) ?
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway ?-1971 (under Amtrak) 1971-1996 (under Amtrak)
Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway (NYC) 1852-1900
1900–1903 1968–present (under Amtrak)
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad 1852-1900
1903–present (under Metra)
New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad 1882–1892 ? Nickel Plate 1892-?
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad ?-1892/1893? 1892/1893?-1969 1977-1981 (under Amtrak)
1982-1986 (under Amtrak)
1990-1995 (under Amtrak)
1996-2005 (under Amtrak)
Chicago Great Western Railway 1890–1956
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway 1899-1912
1996–present (under Metra)
Pere Marquette Railway ?-1903 1903–1969 1984–present (under Amtrak) 1969–1971
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad 1856-? 1881–present (under Amtrak)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (to Milwaukee) 1881–present (under Amtrak and Metra)
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (to Omaha) 1881–present (under Metra)
Chicago and Evanston Railroad (MILW) 1885–1908
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (PRR) 1881-1971
1972-1974 (under Amtrak)
Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway (PRR) 1881-1990 (under Amtrak)
Alton Railroad ?-1881 1858-? 1881–present (under Amtrak and Metra)
Galena and Chicago Union Railroad (C&NW) 1881–present (under Metra) G&CU Depot 1848-1856[1]
Chicago and Milwaukee Railway (C&NW)
Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad (C&NW)

NOTE: The Chicago, Terre Haute and Southeastern Railway, later part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, never had passenger service in the Chicago area.