Getting from Chicago Union to Chicago O'Hare?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by iliketrains, Jan 24, 2019.

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  1. Jan 24, 2019 #1

    iliketrains

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    I am planning an Amtrak trip this summer but do some time restraints,  I will need to fly for a portion of the trip.  I will need to go from Chicago Union Station to Chicago O'Hare Airport. Who has done this before and what do you recommend? I know CTA operates a light rail train that goes to the airport and the closest stop is a few blocks from Union Station.  I'm worried I will look like a tourist because I will have 2 good-sized luggage.  I will look like prime robbery prey!  Also how do I get to the CTA stop with 2 good-sized luggage? I see there is a shuttle service but it's costly and Uber is almost as costly. Is CTA safe? Is shuttle service and Uber worth the cost?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2019
  2. Jan 24, 2019 #2

    greatcats

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    Having taken the CTA Blue Line several times, it has been satisfactory ( and cheap ) and I did not feel unsafe.  However, if your luggage is difficult for you to handle, I would take Uber or Lyft.  I ave taken these rides once each to O’hare and Midway and the convenience was worth the expense, which was approx. $30-35,, plus tip. 
     
  3. Jan 24, 2019 #3

    VTTrain

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    It may be more than you want to spend, but when I am in Chicago I always use this car service:

    https://legendaryprivatecar.com/

    They charge $65 from downtown to the airport, and the tip is included.  I have been extremely pleased with their service.  
     
  4. Jan 24, 2019 #4

    PerRock

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    If the timing works out, you can take the Metra North Central Service line to O'Hare Transfer; there's then a short shuttle bus from the station to the terminals.

    To take the L, best is to walk 2 blocks south on Clinton to the Clinton stop on the Blue Line, that will then take you to Terminal 2. It's not a bad area, so I wouldn't worry too much about being a target. I would be concerned if your luggage it too big to handle down to the subway platforms. There is no elevator at Clinton, so you're lugging it down flights of stairs.

    peter
     
  5. Jan 24, 2019 #5

    Devil's Advocate

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    I've taken both the Blue (O'Hare) and Orange (Midway) lines and never had a major problem.  That being said, if I was bringing two "good sized" suitcases I'd probably take a ride sharing service instead.  CTA isn't light rail and it isn't street level, so you're likely to be carrying all that luggage up/down some stairs at some point.
     
  6. Jan 24, 2019 #6

    iliketrains

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    I wasn't aware of this option.  Is there a designated place on the Metra to place luggage? If not, where will my luggage sit? I'm sure in the aisle is not a good place. Is there room between the seats? 

    Based on the comments, CTA is not good option since that will require going up and down stairs.  If Metra is not feasible, I guess I will use shuttle, Uber, or car service. 
     
  7. Jan 24, 2019 #7

    PerRock

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    There is a luggage rack about level with the floor of the 2nd level.

    The catch with the Metra is that it operates fairly infrequently.

    peter
     
  8. Jan 24, 2019 #8

    John Bredin

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    If you're not traveling during rush-hour when every seat is needed, the seats flip in most Metra cars so you can take up four seats (really two benches) and put your luggage there. The rack is the proper place, of course, but not everyone can lift luggage above their head.

    As to frequency, the Metra North Central Service schedule is here (pdf).
     
  9. Jan 24, 2019 #9

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Clinton is the closest Blue Line station, but as was mentioned there is no elevator. However, you could instead use the Orange Line from Quincy connecting to the Blue Line at Clark/Lake as Quincy and Clark/Lake both have elevators. If you could leave from Midway instead, you could take the Orange line directly from Quincy. As to Metra, it would be a good option as long as you are not travelling on a weekend or between 9 AM and 1 PM.
     
  10. Jan 24, 2019 #10

    penguinflies

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    I like Metra to ORD.  Costs more than the CTA but the ride is much better.   Plan 60 minutes from departure time of the train to the terminals.  Usually ORD has a shuttle bus waiting at the transfer stop to take passengers to the terminals or if the ORD terminal train is running, the shuttle will take you from the Ohare transfer station to the terminal train. 
     
  11. Jan 24, 2019 #11

    VTTrain

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  12. Jan 24, 2019 #12

    bmjhagen9426

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    If you don't have too much luggage, take Metra NCS (departs out of CUS, weekdays only, infrequent) or the CTA El Train's O'Hare Line (aka Blue Line, frequent, any time of the day/week, walk a few blocks to Clinton CTA subway station). If you have too much luggage, take Uber or Lyft.
     
  13. Jan 24, 2019 #13

    Seaboard92

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    A note about the Metra. There have been times the bus has not been waiting on the train. You can walk one block to the SkyTrain station (currently closed) and get a bus from there. Where they run more frequently. I've done this routing three times in the last two years.
     
  14. Jan 25, 2019 #14

    DSS&A

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    Hi, I am very familiar with these options and have been riding into Union Station for more than 20 years. The CTA Clinton station has only narrow stairs from street-level to the mezzanine and one stair and one escalator from the mezzanine to the platform.  The direction of the escalator changes with the rush-hour time.  It is also the deepest underground station.  I would therefore not take the CTA from the Clinton Station.   I  would suggest the extra NCS option previously discussed as a first option, because the shuttle bus is supposed to meet each train.  There is room on the Metra cars for luggage, especially in the ADA car.
     
  15. Jan 25, 2019 #15

    SarahZ

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    Quincy doesn't have an elevator. You're thinking of Washington/Wells.

    Besides that, the Loop stops aren't any closer than Clinton, so it doesn't make sense to walk to the Loop versus walking to Clinton.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2019 #16

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Quincy recently had elevators installed.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/12/14/18-million-upgrade-for-quincy-cta-station-complete/amp/

    You are right that Quincy is no closer than Clinton; I just suggested it as an option due to the availability of elevators.
     
  17. Jan 25, 2019 #17

    the_traveler

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    If you have numerous or heavy bags, I would use the Blue Line stop at Washington/Wells. Although it is a little farther walk than Clinton, it does have an elevator while Clinton does not. I use a walker, and that is what I do.
     
  18. Jan 25, 2019 #18

    SarahZ

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  19. Jan 25, 2019 #19

    Trogdor

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    Except the Blue Line does not serve Washington/Wells. 
     
  20. Jan 25, 2019 #20

    jis

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    Yeah. You have to walk all the way to Dearborn to the Blue Line Washington Station in that direction.

    Or to Jackson on the South side, if one must avoid Clinton that is.

    Or take the loop from Quincy or Washington/Wells to Clark/Lake and change there to the Blue.

    In general IMHO transit connectivity to Union Station borderline sucks.
     
  21. Jan 25, 2019 #21

    the_traveler

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    Correction - I meant Jackson near Dearborn or State.
     
  22. Jan 25, 2019 #22

    doodaa

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    My trip last year ended at Chicago Union Station. I walked to the Holiday Inn just passed CTA Blue Line at Clinton, then the next day got the CTA from Clinton to O'Hare. I was travelling alone. The streets felt real safe, I Arrived around 9pm. I had 2 suit cases, a laptop/carry on bag and a camera bag. Was a bit of a pain getting down the stairs to the station. but I took my time 'bouncing' the cases down each step.

    I'm planing on doing the reverse journey, this May on my next trip to the US

    Steve 
     
  23. Jan 26, 2019 #23

    NEPATrainTraveler

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    I took Metra to O’Hare back in October. The train wasn’t crowded so I put my carry-on suitcase in the space between the seat next to me and the seat in front of that one. It was a nice ride.
     
  24. Jan 26, 2019 #24

    iliketrains

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    Thanks everyone.  I have not decided which option I will use but it sounds like I should cross-out CTA. (because of my luggage and my not-so-strong back) and ride either Metra or shuttle/Uber/Lyft.
     
  25. Jan 26, 2019 #25

    jimontheriver

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    It sucks that that there is no easy way from CUS to the Blue line that is only to blocks away ( if you go out the right way from the station)  seems  like they could bore a small tunnel with people movers to the Clinton Blue Line station.  I have done two block walk lots but only with a small roll bag and a backpack that slips over the roll bag handle or less. 
     

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