Lake Cities (Amtrak train)

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This article is about the Amtrak service. For the Erie Railroad train, see Lake Cities (train).
Lake Cities
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Discontinued
Locale Michigan
Predecessor St. Clair
First service August 3, 1980
Last service April 26, 2004
Successor Wolverine
Start Chicago, Illinois
End Toledo, Ohio
Distance travelled 335 miles (539 km)
Average journey time 7 hours 30 minutes
Route map
Dist. Station
0 mi Chicago
Illinois/Indiana border
16 mi 
26 km 
Indiana/Michigan border
89 mi 
143 km 
138 mi 
222 km 
160 mi 
257 km 
Battle Creek
International to Toronto
184 mi 
296 km 
205 mi 
330 km 
243 mi 
391 km 
Ann Arbor
273 mi 
439 km 
279 mi 
449 km 
to Pontiac
Michigan/Ohio border
Lake Shore Limited to Chicago
335 mi 
539 km 
Lake Shore Limited to Boston/New York

The Lake Cities was a daily passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio via Detroit, Michigan. It was formerly known as the St. Clair, a Chicago–Detroit train which operated in tandem with the Wolverine. The extension to Toledo gave travelers in Michigan the opportunity to connect with eastbound trains such as the Lake Shore Limited without backtracking to Chicago.[1]:81–82

The Lake Cities made its first run on August 3, 1980, using the same Turboliner equipment as its predecessor.[2] Amtrak re-routed the Lake Cities to Pontiac, Michigan in 1995, mirroring the route of the Wolverine and the Twilight Limited.[3] The Detroit–Toledo segment was replaced by Thruway Motorcoach service. Amtrak proposed to restore the Lake Cities to Toledo as part of its network growth strategy in the late 1990s but ultimately cancelled the project.[4] As of 2013 it is still not possible to travel by train to or from Michigan without passing through Chicago's Union Station. On April 26, 2004 Amtrak dropped the individual names for the Chicago–Detroit–Pontiac trains, naming them all the "Wolverine."[5]

The Ohio Rail Development Commission proposed restoring service to the Detroit–Toledo corridor as part of its "Ohio Hub" initiative. Under it Detroit would be connected to Ohio by a Detroit–Toledo–Cleveland service (eight trains daily) and potentially also a Detroit–Toledo–Columbus service (eight trains daily).[6]


  1. ^ Goldberg, Bruce (1981). Amtrak--the first decade. Silver Spring, MD: Alan Books. OCLC 7925036. 
  2. ^ "Michigan–Toledo Runs Instituted By Amtrak". Toledo Blade. July 9, 1980. Retrieved 2010-04-16. 
  3. ^ GAO (2002), 20.
  4. ^ GAO (2002), 10; 22.
  5. ^ "Wolverine and Blue Water service" (PDF). Amtrak. October 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  6. ^ Ohio Rail Development Commission (2007), 3–1.


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