Amtrak has a higher-speed passenger train service called the Blue Water, formerly known as the Blue Water Limited, as part of its Michigan Services. The train is named for the 319-mile (513-kilometer) track that connects Chicago, Illinois, to Port Huron in Michigan’s Blue Water Area. The cities of Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, East Lansing, and Flint are important destinations.

In 1974, Amtrak started operating the Blue Water train on the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. The train was renamed the International Limited in 1982 and extended from Port Huron to Toronto, Canada. In 2004, service was resumed along the original route under the new moniker Blue Water.

This is not Amtrak’s official website and is not affiliated with Amtrak; this is just for the reader’s guide.

Schedule Highlights:

  • The full route takes approximately 6.5 hours.
  • The travel time between Chicago and Kalamazoo is more than two hours.
  • It takes around four hours to go from Chicago to East Lansing.
  • Trains depart Chicago in the late afternoon and arrive in Port Huron late at night.
  • Trains depart Port Huron early in the morning and arrive in Chicago around noon.
  • Wolverine Amtrak trains stop at several of the same stations as an alternative.

Read Also: Amtrak Auto Train: Stops, Stations & Must-Knows (A Complete Rider Guide)

Blue Water Train Route

Blue Water Train Route

Here are some major stops and stations:

Major Stops

  • Chicago
  • Kalamazoo
  • East Lansing
  • Port Huron



Chicago, IL – Union Station (CHI)

The Chicago Union Station, located at 225 S Canal Street, is beautiful in the United Stations that serves as a major transfer point between passenger trains. It has undergone renovations, including a new ceiling in the Great Hall, a western facade repair, and a restored Burlington Room.

Station Amenities

Here you can view the full list of station amenities, including:

  • WiFi
  • Restrooms
  • Food court
  • Ticket sales office
  • Bag storage (with fee)
  • Checked baggage service
  • Metropolitan Lounge

Note: There is no parking at this station.

Niles, MI (NLS)

Niles station is an Amtrak intercity train station in Niles, Michigan, serving three daily Wolverine round trips and one daily Blue Water round trip. The Michigan Central Railroad built the Niles Depot, which is situated on the Michigan Line, in 1892. It is recognized as a National Register of Historic Places. The station was used as a filming location for Continental Divide, Midnight Run, and Only the Lonely, resulting in an annual tradition of adding Christmas lights and decorations around the station.

Here you can view the full list of station amenities.

Dowagiac, MI (DOA)

The Dowagiac is a train station in Dowagiac, Michigan, serving Amtrak, the United States railroad passenger system. Built in 1902 by the Michigan Central Railroad, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The International Limited used to stop at the station, which is now served by Amtrak’s Blue Water and Wolverine trains. The station was a joint operation between Via Rail and Amtrak. The Michigan Central Railroad built a set of tracks in Dowagiac in 1848, and a new depot was constructed in the 1870s.

The current station, replacing the 1870s station, was completed in 1903 and has remained in use as a passenger station since then. The depot is a single-story brick Tudor Revival structure trimmed with limestone, consisting of two hip-roof buildings for passengers and baggage. The passenger station has a square, two-story tower and a projecting octagonal ticket office on the trackside. The station is accessed through a port cochere and glassed-in entry porch.

Kalamazoo, MI (KAL)

The Kalamazoo Transportation Center is an intermodal complex in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan, serving Amtrak and Greyhound trains and serving as a major downtown transfer hub for Kalamazoo’s Metro Transit bus system. It was formerly a stop for the International, a joint operation between Via Rail and Amtrak between Chicago and Toronto. Amtrak does not allow passengers to check luggage at Kalamazoo but allows carry-on of up to two suitcases and “personal items.” The original depot was built in 1887 by the Michigan Central Railroad and served trains for the Michigan Central and New York Central. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and was rebuilt as a multi-modal facility in the early 21st century, a collaboration between local, state, and federal authorities.

Battle Creek, MI (BTL)

In 2010, Michigan received $40 million in stimulus funds to develop a high-speed rail corridor between Detroit and Chicago. A portion of this was used for station improvements, including a $3.6 million rehabilitation of the Battle Creek Intermodal Facility. The facility was modernized and closed in 2011, and operations were relocated to a temporary structure. Battle Creek, with a rich history of local industries, has also seen improvements in Percy Jones Army Hospital and Fort Custer.

East Lansing, MI (LNS)

Amtrak has moved into the Capital Area Multimodal Gateway, a facility that connects Amtrak trains, intercity and local CATA buses, and bike-sharing at the Michigan State University (MSU) campus. The facility, run by the Capital Area Transportation Authority, is located at the convergence of two rail lines and is easily accessible from Interstate 496. The project was supported by federal funds, the Michigan DOT through a $500,000 match, and MSU contributing approximately $3.2 million through the long-term lease of the property occupied by the multimodal center.

The station features a landscaped greenspace, a wide roof overhang, ample on-site parking, ticketing desks, a seating area, restrooms, and space for concessions. Lansing, Michigan, has a diversified economy, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, banking, and education. Two historic depots in Lansing are the Grand Trunk Depot near the Grand River and the former Union Depot, built in 1904 for the Michigan Central and Pere Marquette railroads.

Durand, MI (DRD)

Durand Union Station, a historic train station in Durand, Michigan, was a hub for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad and Ann Arbor Railroad from 1903 to 1974. It is now owned by the city of Durand and leased by Durand Union Station, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to its preservation, restoration, and maintenance. The station houses three small railroad history museums: the Michigan Railroad History Museum, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Museum, and the Ann Arbor Railroad History Museum. It also houses a model railroad club, the Durand Union Station Model Railroad Engineers, and a ballroom for special events. The station is located at the junction of the Canadian National Railway’s mainline interchange and is a popular destination for railfans, especially during the annual Durand Railroad Days Festival. The station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and the Michigan Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Flint, MI (FLN)

Flint Station is a multimodal transit hub in Flint, Michigan. It is served by Amtrak’s Blue Water route and also serves as an interstate bus stop for Amtrak Thruway and Indian Trails, as well as the Flint Mass Transportation Authority, which owns the station. The station was developed as part of Amtrak’s Standard Stations Program.

Lapeer, MI (LPE)

Lapeer Station is an Amtrak station in Lapeer, Michigan, which is now served by the Blue Water. The Grand Trunk Western Railroad erected the station in the early 1900s, and Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation refurbished it in 1991 before entirely restoring it in 2004. Another station in Lapeer once served the Michigan Central Railroad but is now home to an insurance company. The Amtrak station is located at the historic junction of the GTW and MCRR lines, the latter of which has been mostly demolished and the surviving piece is currently used by the Lapeer Industrial Railroad.

From 1982 to 2004, the station was served by the International Limited, a joint venture of Via Rail and Amtrak that traveled between Chicago and Toronto.

Port Huron, MI (PTH)

Port Huron Station is an Amtrak station located in Port Huron, Michigan, and serves as the Blue Water’s eastern terminus. The current station opened in 1979. It is six blocks west of the St. Clair Tunnel, however, the passenger trains have been terminated here, and only freight tracks skip the station and proceed to Canada. Port Huron serves as the boundary between the Flint Subdivision and the Strathroy Subdivision, which connects to Battle Creek, Michigan, and London, Ontario.

The station was previously served by the International Limited, a joint operation of Via Rail and Amtrak between Chicago and Toronto. The service, which began in 1982, was ended in 2004. The Port Huron station housed a United States Immigration Office while it served the International Limited.

Read Also: Amtrak Cascades Train: Stops, Stations & Things To Know (A Complete Rider Guide)

Onboard the Blue Water Train

Seating options

Business class

Amtrak Blue Water train offers Business Class, a premium, enhanced experience on most corridor services across the system. This class includes extra legroom, a wide and comfortable seat, and a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage. Seat selection is available on many Northeast routes, making boarding more seamless. Business Class customers receive a 25% bonus on Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Many routes, including the Northeast Regional and Carolinian, feature fixed forward and backward seating. Passengers can change their seats once their reservation is complete, but seat orientation is subject to availability. Child car seats cannot be secured to any seats onboard Amtrak trains or buses. Passengers traveling with an infant/small child in a child car seat may place the seat in a vacant seat if not needed for a paying passenger.

Amenities offered on board

Quiet car

Need a quiet place to work or unwind? Quiet Cars are available on most corridor and short-distance trains. Guests are asked to restrict their discussion and speak quietly. Phone calls are not permitted, and all portable electronic devices must be muted or utilized with headphones (passengers who use headphones must keep the volume low enough that other passengers cannot hear them). Low overhead lighting provides a relaxing environment for all passengers, however reading lamps are accessible.

Unless your trip is on Acela, seating in the Quiet Car is first come, first served and cannot be reserved. There is no payment to sit in the Quiet Car, however passengers are advised to take only one seat per person. Please do not use the adjacent seat area for personal items. Passengers who board trains and discover that seats are only available in the Quiet Car must adhere to the Quiet Car norms.

WiFi onboard

Amtrak Blue Water Train also offers wifi to keep their passengers connected while traveling, Amtrak provides basic WiFi connectivity in certain terminals and trains across the country. Stay working or simply relax and enjoy the journey to your destination.

If you want additional information, then view this complete amenities list.  

VI.  Additional Resources

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