Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Chicago - Milwaukee Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor

Environmental Assessment and Service Development Plan - Facts


Current Hiawatha Service Future Hiawatha Service with planned improvements
  • Seven daily round-trips, Six on Sunday between Chicago and Milwaukee
  • 10 daily round-trips (including three additional trains) between Chicago and Milwaukee
  • Regular scheduled travel times between Chicago and Milwaukee from 89 minutes
  • Faster travel times between Chicago and Milwaukee
  • Maximum speed 79 MPH
  • Maximum speed 79 MPH or 90 MPH (between Rondout, Illinois and General Mitchell International Airport)

Hiawatha Service facts

  • Stations include:
  • Chicago Union (connect to Amtrak system, transit and intercity buses)
    • Glenview, IL (connect to local transit)
    • Sturtevant, WI (connect to local transit)
    • Milwaukee Airport Rail Station (connect to all flights and ground transportation at General
    • Mitchell International Airport)
    • Milwaukee Intermodal Station (connect to intercity bus and transit)
  • One of the best on-time performance rates in the Amtrak system
  • Financially supported by Wisconsin and Illinois
    • Operating support split is 75% Wisconsin, 25% Illinois
  • State Fiscal Year 2012 Ridership: 841,032, a 42.5% increase from State Fiscal Year 2007
  • Highest ridership of any Amtrak service outside the east and west coasts
  • Standing room only conditions on some peak trains
  • Ridership has grown consistently over the past 10 years and has doubled since 2002

Ridership has grown consistently over the past 10 years and has doubled since 2002

Hiawatha Service 2011 on-board passenger survey results

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Amtrak and Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), conducted an on-board survey of Hiawatha Service passengers in April of 2011. The survey allows the state sponsors and Amtrak to:

  • Learn about travel patterns and choices of rail passengers
  • Learn about characteristics of trips such as trip purpose and mode of access to/from the station
  • Evaluate customer satisfaction and preferences

Survey results are used to focus activities to continually improve the service and to plan for future needs and improvements. A survey of passengers connecting between the Milwaukee Airport Rail Station and the airport terminal was also conducted the same year. TTI analyzed the results of both surveys and created the following overview and report.


WisDOT and IDOT, in partnership with Amtrak, have also conducted on-board surveys in 2002/2003 and 2005.

SSI - Project contacts Questions about the content of this page:
Arun Rao, arun.rao@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: December 20, 2013

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