Grand Rapids-to-Chicago Amtrak train to leave earlier, return later

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CHICAGO — The daily Amtrak train that runs between Grand Rapids and Chicago, called the Pere Marquette, will be leaving earlier to allow more time in the Windy City.

Currently, the Pere Marquette is scheduled to leave the Vernon J. Ehlers Station in Grand Rapids daily at 7:40 a.m., arriving in Chicago at 10:47 a.m. local time. Beginning May 4, the train will depart daily at 6:00 a.m., arriving at 9:11 a.m. local time.

The return trip currently departs Chicago at 4:55 p.m. Central Time, arriving in Grand Rapids at 9:58 p.m ET. The new schedule has the Pere Marquette leave Chicago at 6:30 p.m. local time and arrive in Grand Rapids at 11:39 p.m.

The schedule change allows day-trip passengers to spend more time in Chicago, says the Michigan Department of Transportation. The new schedule also “improves connections with other Amtrak trains,” says MDOT.

The current schedule was not developed with passengers in mind. Rather, it was built around the schedules of crews based in Chicago, says MDOT. The new schedule will mean a crew will be based in Grand Rapids, creating eight to 10 jobs.

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