New Amtrak schedule for Niles to Chicago travel

Published 6:43 am Thursday, February 26, 2004

By Staff
LANSING and CHICAGO -- Rail passengers will enjoy convenient new service linking nine Michigan communities with Amtrak's Chicago hub when the Blue Water kicks off service April 26, Amtrak and the State of Michigan announced Tuesday.
Named for its home region of Port Huron, the Blue Water will also serve Lapeer, Flint, Durand, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac and Niles, Mich., and operate under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
The Blue Water will replace Amtrak's current International, which operates over the same route and continued on to Ontario, Canada.
However, the International's scheduled late evening arrivals in Toronto and Chicago meant the train missed all daily long-distance connections at Amtrak's Chicago hub.
Ridership on the International fell 11 percent in the last Amtrak fiscal year.
The westbound Blue Water (Train 365) will depart Port Huron daily at 5:15 a.m., make intermediate stops and arrive in Chicago at 11:10 a.m. The eastbound Blue Water (Train 364) will depart Chicago at 3:00 p.m., make intermediate stops and arrive in Port Huron at 10:50 p.m. (see attached schedule). Food service on the Blue Water will feature a variety of sandwiches, drinks and other snacks in the Caf/ car.
The convenient schedule allows passengers to make day trips from Michigan to Chicago and return that evening. It also enables passengers to connect to Amtrak's network of trains with afternoon departures from the Chicago hub to hundreds of destinations throughout the country.
This schedule mirrors the operating pattern of the Grand Rapids-Chicago Pere Marquette train, which has made significant ridership gains recently. The Pere Marquette (Trains 370 &371) is also operated by Amtrak under a contract with MDOT, with a morning departure to Chicago and an evening return to Grand Rapids.
During the past Amtrak fiscal year (Oct. 2002-Sept. 2003), the Pere Marquette reported a 22 percent increase in ridership.
As part of the contract with MDOT, Amtrak will staff ticket offices in the East Lansing, Flint and Port Huron stations.
Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail service in 500 communities in 46 states across a 22,000-mile route system. For schedules and fares, visit Amtrak's website at or call 800.USA.RAIL.