Trains to and from Chicago Airport (ORD)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is recognised by its IATA code of ORD, and is also referred to as the O’Hare Airport, the O’Hare Field, the Chicago International Airport or simply as O’Hare. The airport is large, serving over 60 million passengers every year, and is therefore rated as the third busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic, and as the second busiest in terms of aircraft movements. Chicago O’Hare International Airport trains are available for the transport of arriving and departing passengers, and are the most convenient way to travel. Airport trains are available frequently from an on-site airport train station.
There are currently four terminal building used for passenger operations at Chicago O’Hare Airport, named as Terminal 1, Terminal 2, Terminal 3 and Terminal 5, which is the new international terminal of the airport. Terminal 1 is the hub for United Airlines, Terminal 2 is used by US Airways and Delta Air Lines and Terminal 3 is from where American Airlines run their flights. The airport is a hub for American Airlines and United Airlines. There is no Terminal 4 at the airport, however, the area previously known as Terminal 4 was used for check-in operations before Terminal 5 was built, and was located on the ground floor of the main parking garage. This area is now used as a central transportation facility, for many regional airport buses, CTA buses and hotel shuttles. The Chicago O’Hare International Airport train station is an underground station on the lower level concourse that connects Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and from where the ‘L’ CTA Blue Line trains are available.
Passengers who are arriving in Terminals 1, 2 or 3 can reach the O’Hare Train Station on foot from the baggage reclaim areas. It is, at most, a ten minute walk. Passengers who have arrived on domestic or international flights at these terminals can follow the signs that read ‘CTA Trains’ or ‘Trains to City’, that lead to the airport train station. The airport’s train station is located a little further from Terminal 5. Passengers arriving at this terminal will need to take the ATS, or Airport Transit System to Terminal 2, and then exit at the station. Follow the signs that read ‘CTA Trains’ or ‘Trains to City’.
The ATS is another very important Chicago O’Hare International Airport train system. This is the complimentary people mover system of the airport that runs between all the airport terminals and to more remote locations on the airport grounds, such as the Long-term car park E, the Metra Station and the PACE bus stop. The ATS consists of a long track, of approximately 2.7 miles (4km) in length, and operates twenty-four hours a day. The airport’s transit train began its operation in May 1993 to relieve roadway congestion and to help passengers to more easily travel between the terminals. It will also soon undergo an major enhancement that will cost $90 million, and that will add more cars to the system. It will be extended as well to a new remote parking garage. The ATS is accessible to disabled passengers.
Once passengers are at the O’Hare Train Station, they can take the CTA Blue Line train to downtown Chicago. The line travels from the airport, in northwest Chicago, to downtown, and then continues through to the west side of Chicago, connecting areas such as Oak Pine and Forest Park. The airport trains are available seven days a week, and operate twenty-four hours a day. They also depart from the airport at regular intervals. The journey from Chicago O’Hare Airport to downtown Chicago takes approximately forty to forty-five minutes, as the airport is about 17 miles, or 27km from the Chicago Loop.
At the Chicago O’Hare International Airport Train Station, passengers can buy passes for their train journey to Chicago. CTA Transit Cards are available, as well as three-day or seven-day unlimited ride passes. The ticket machines accept cash or credit/debit cards, but do not give change. Passes may also be purchased online, in advance of your journey to or from the airport. Further details are available at http://www.transitchicago.com. A single ticket on any of the Chicago CTA trains costs $2.25, but cannot be used for transfer onto the bus system of the city. A CTA Transit Card is usually recommended, as this card stores a cash value, and can be used to pay fares on trains and buses. Passengers who plan to use the Chicago Transit System more extensively are recommended to purchase unlimited ride passes, which allow rides on as many CTA buses and trains as needed, for under $6.00 per day. Passengers travelling to Chicago O’Hare Airport can buy farecards from a wide variety of locations in the city. There are vending machines at the ‘L’ stations, and many retail outlets sell farecards as well. Transit cards can be purchased at all 144 ‘L’ train stations.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is completely accessible to disabled passengers, with facilities that include adapted restroom facilities and wide elevators. The CTA Blue Line is also accessible for passengers in wheelchairs, and the airport train station is equipped with an elevator for transporting passengers to the platform.
One of the largest and most important train stations in Chicago is Union Station, found at 225 South Canal Street. It is the only intercity rail terminal in the city, and also functions as the primary terminal for commuter trains. The station is huge, covering an area of about nine and a half city blocks, and its facilities are mostly underground. It has twenty-four tracks, with the odd-numbered tracks on the north half of the station and the even-numbered tracks on the south half. The Amtrak services operated from the north side of the station travel to Milwaukee and Seattle. Further Amtrak services are available from the southern platforms, as well as the city’s Metra services. Amtrak is the North American railway service that offers routes to all the main city locations of the country. From Chicago, passengers can travel to Denver, Washington, New York, New Orleans, Memphis, Milwaukee, Portland/Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, Los Angeles and many other cities. Passengers from Chicago O’Hare International Airport can reach Union Station by using nearby CTA stations. There are many Loop stations in the vicinity of Union Station. Direct train services may also be available from the O’Hare Transfer Station (located in Parking Lot E which is accessed by an airport shuttle bus) to Union Station, by the Metra North Central Service. Details regarding Amtrak services can be found at http://www.amtrak.com.
The airport can be contacted for information regarding the Chicago O’Hare International Airport train services, at (773)686-8040 (Landside Operations office).