O'Hare to Union Station in Chicago

Old May 7, 18, 12:41 pm
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O'Hare to Union Station in Chicago

Could someone tell me the best way to get to Union Station in Chicago from O'Hare International Airport. I am sure the cabs are very expensive and was wondering if there was a train I could take.
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Old May 7, 18, 1:36 pm
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The blue line goes directly to union station from ORD, leaves every 8 minutes and takes just under an hour from station to station. I've done it before and it's quite easy.
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Old May 7, 18, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by acrollet View Post
The blue line goes directly to union station from ORD, leaves every 8 minutes and takes just under an hour from station to station. I've done it before and it's quite easy.
Is it fully connected now? Last time I was there (which was a couple years ago) it still required about a two-block walk to the Clinton station, and there's no elevators to get up or down, and I think the closest entrance/exit doesn't have escalators either. It's still convenient, but with a lot of luggage there's a few hurdles. Jackson may be easier to get up/down in, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

For me, the most convenient option is the North Central Service from Metra. It leaves right from Union Station and stops at O'Hare Transfer. There's a couple more transfers at O'Hare, but they're generally easier and compatible with luggage (there's a transfer from Metra to the airport shuttle bus, and then a transfer from the shuttle bus to the Airport Transit System, but in my opinion those are easier than the walk from Union Station to the Blue Line and then walking to your terminal from the Blue Line station. The only downfall is that it only runs on weekdays, and the frequency isn't great (only every couple hours.) Still, if given the choice I'd rather do that than walk to the Blue Line and deal with luggage on the Blue Line.

https://metrarail.com/sites/default/...ntral_serv.pdf
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Old May 7, 18, 7:01 pm
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Originally Posted by acrollet View Post
The blue line goes directly to union station from ORD, leaves every 8 minutes and takes just under an hour from station to station. I've done it before and it's quite easy.
No, it is not "direct to Union Station". There is a two block walk.
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Old May 8, 18, 3:50 pm
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For the visual learners, here's the Google Maps version of how to do it via Blue Line: https://goo.gl/maps/XrdoqsWkTS42

Honestly, for someone who is so unfamiliar with Chicago's public transportation options that they are coming here to ask if there were a train they could take, I don't know that I'd recommend the complexity of the Metra option--especially going from the airport to downtown. It's probably easier in the reverse (get off the train at O'Hare Transfer and look for shuttle buses marked "airport" and ask people along the way), but leaving O'Hare, I'd be hesitant to suggest that someone unfamiliar with how things work to try to find the right bus out of all of the buses buzzing by and which bus stop at which terminal to go to or riding the airport tram out to the parking lots and trying to find the bus there or whatever. The Blue Line may be annoying but it's well-signed and pretty foolproof. Plus, it leaves like every 10 minutes, and it's also $1.25 cheaper.

That said, I'll be interested in trying the O'Hare Transfer option myself sometime.
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Old May 9, 18, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
For the visual learners, here's the Google Maps version of how to do it via Blue Line: https://goo.gl/maps/XrdoqsWkTS42

Honestly, for someone who is so unfamiliar with Chicago's public transportation options that they are coming here to ask if there were a train they could take, I don't know that I'd recommend the complexity of the Metra option--especially going from the airport to downtown. It's probably easier in the reverse (get off the train at O'Hare Transfer and look for shuttle buses marked "airport" and ask people along the way), but leaving O'Hare, I'd be hesitant to suggest that someone unfamiliar with how things work to try to find the right bus out of all of the buses buzzing by and which bus stop at which terminal to go to or riding the airport tram out to the parking lots and trying to find the bus there or whatever. The Blue Line may be annoying but it's well-signed and pretty foolproof. Plus, it leaves like every 10 minutes, and it's also $1.25 cheaper.

That said, I'll be interested in trying the O'Hare Transfer option myself sometime.
The Metra O'Hare Transfer option is not that difficult. I've used it twice to Union Station for an outbound western long distance train. While the Metra North Central schedule is a little thin most of the day, there is an 11:58 AM inbound departure from O'Hare Transfer that gets to Union Station just after 12:30 PM - perfect for the bank of westbound LD departures starting at 1:45.

Getting to O'Hare Transfer from the airport is pretty easy. Hop on the people mover (ATS) at any terminal and take it to the end of the line - Parking Lot E. A shuttle bus will be waiting at the ATS stop that makes the rounds of the economy lots and stops at O'hare Transfer. The last time I did it, I allowed 45 minutes from exiting Terminal 3 to Metra. It took about 15 minutes. The ride on Metra is much more pleasant then the Blue Line, and you can't beat ending up in Union Station rather then just in the neighborhood of Union Station.
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Old May 9, 18, 10:13 am
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I would rather take the blue line and not have to carry luggage and transfer from bus to train, etc... the blue line is literally inside O'Hare and it is a quick 2 block walk to Union Station.
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Old May 10, 18, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by pwd847 View Post
I would rather take the blue line and not have to carry luggage and transfer from bus to train, etc... the blue line is literally inside O'Hare and it is a quick 2 block walk to Union Station.
Except that it's not so quick to get out of Clinton, especially with luggage. I don't think there's an escalator all the way up to street level, so there's a flight of stairs up. That's not bad if you're able bodied, especially without significant luggage, but if I have a couple bags that's not pleasant, nor is the two-to-three block walk on sidewalks not optimized for luggage. It's plenty doable, but I'd much rather do the Metra if the schedule allows.

If the OP was simply going to the Loop, then the Blue Line is better as it likely gets closer to the destination. But since the OP is going directly to Union Station, Metra is easier if the schedule allows. Sure, there's more transfers, but they're mainly substituting for longer walks: ATS vs. the walk to the Blue Line station (which is pretty long from Terminals 1 and 3, and would require an ATS ride anyways from the international terminal) and the shuttle bus vs. the stair climb and 2-3 block walk at Clinton. The fact that it drops you off right at Union Station is also a huge bonus; while the walk isn't difficult from the Blue Line, you still have to get your bearings and there's a chance that you get turned around and add a couple blocks to your walk. That's quite unlikely with the Metra connection.

The couple times I've been lucky enough to take the Metra connection, I've found it a lot more relaxing and a lot less stressful. If the schedule works, I'll pay the extra to use it because it's just a much better experience.
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Old May 11, 18, 1:04 pm
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Originally Posted by NovaEngr View Post
Getting to O'Hare Transfer from the airport is pretty easy. Hop on the people mover (ATS) at any terminal and take it to the end of the line - Parking Lot E. A shuttle bus will be waiting at the ATS stop that makes the rounds of the economy lots and stops at O'hare Transfer.
Just make sure to get on the correct shuttle bus according to its destination sign. For example, the bus to "Economy Lot G" only goes to Lot G and back. I believe the sign for the bus that goes to the Metra station will alternate between "Metra" and something else; used to be the auto impound lot, I think, but that's moved due to the construction of the new rental car center.
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Old May 12, 18, 12:18 pm
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Thanks for all the information.
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