Amtrak Borealis title card
Amtrak Borealis title card

The Amtrak Borealis: Chicago to St Paul/Minneapolis

The Amtrak Borealis is a newly introduced regional train that runs daily between Chicago, IL, and St. Paul, MN. It makes all the Hiawatha and Empire Builder stops from Chicago and the Twin Cities. This train replaces the Hiawatha 333 and 340 trains. Depending on your destination, either of those trains could be substituted for this train if needed.

Amtrak's Hiawatha at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station
Amtrak’s Hiawatha at the Milwaukee Intermodal Statio

Following the Empire Builder route to St. Paul, passengers can visit several cities, including Wisconsin Dells, Columbus (Madison), La Crosse, and the Milwaukee Airport and Sturtevant, WI.

The train has thirteen stops and travels 410 miles, taking 7 hours and 14 minutes from end to end.

The Amtrak Borealis offers two service classes: coach and business. The business class provides extra amenities such as priority boarding, complimentary beverages, and more spacious seats, while the coach class provides the basics.

This post provides information about the Borialis, including their schedule/timetable, and more!

A photo of the Borealis, in the center of the photo is a GE locomote in Amtrak's phase 7 paint job.
The Amtrak Borealis sitting in St Paul (Photo courtesy of Amtrak)

Amtrak Borealis Coach class

Based on current information, this train will use refurbished Amtrak Horizon coach cars. As of the day of the update, the train has four Horizon coaches and a cafe/business class car with a locomotive on each end, so they do not have to wye or turn the train around. Amtrak could replace the second locomotive with a cab car.

I highly recommend riding in coach class if you plan to travel on the Amtrak Borealis. I’ve traveled in coach class for many miles and, at 6’2″, found it accessible. 

The interior of an Amtrak coach car.
The interior of an Amtrak coach car

The seats are comfortable and have decent legroom, making the journey more relaxing. Plus, there are seat trays and pockets, and each seat has a reading light as well.

There is overhead storage space for your belongings. If you cannot lift high, there is a rack at one end of the car for heavier bags.

The best part is that there are no middle seats, ensuring that you have plenty of space to yourself. 

You’ll also find a 120-volt grounded outlet under the window, perfect for charging your devices. 

Two restrooms are located at one end of the car, making it easy to freshen up during your journey.

Overall, coach class on the Amtrak Borealis is an excellent choice for a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience.

There is a diagram of a coach car a little further down.

Kev coach class travel tips!

During my years of travel, I’ve found a few essential items to bring along to improve my trips.

An extension cord, preferably 3-6 feet long, is a practical necessity for people who work or need to charge multiple devices, especially when seated in an aisle. It’s a game-changer, providing power exactly where you need it and minimizing any inconvenience to your seatmate.

I also pack a water bottle and some snacks in case I get hungry or thirsty during my travels. While a cafe or snack car is available, having extra money for meals and snacks can make the trip more enjoyable.

If you’re bringing electronics, remember to bring chargers, cables, and headphones. Headphones are essential to watch or listen to anything on a device.

If you need more entertainment ideas, I have an article about entertainment on Amtrak that may be helpful.

Amtrak Borealis Coach class layout

This diagram will give you an idea of a coach car’s layout.

Layout of an Amtrak regional train coach car
Regional Coach Car Layout

Business class

Step into an upgrade with Amtrak’s Business Class, available on the Amtrak Borealis. Enjoy extra legroom, spacious seating, and a complimentary beverage. Seat selection and a 25% bonus on reward points enhance your journey.

Wi-Fi and entertainment

The Borealis will have free Amtrak Wi-Fi to use as you travel.

Amtrak does not offer at-seat entertainment outside of the windows and conversation with a seatmate. I have an article that provides entertainment on Amtrak ideas, which you are welcome to view.

Food on the Amtrak Borealis

If you’re planning a trip on the Amtrak Borealis, it’s good to know that food is available on the train. It can be a fun experience to walk to the café car during your journey and grab a snack or a beverage.

Food from an Amtrak Cafe Car
Amtrak cafe attendants use cardboard trays to make transporting your food more accessible.

Depending on the direction of travel, you’ll find the café car between the coach cars and business class section. The conductors and café staff will let you know which end of the train the car is on.

The cafe car is open most of the route. It typically opens after the train leaves its first station and closes shortly before its final destination. It may also close for breaks. 

The café car offers a diverse range of hot and cold meals, often with combo options, snacks, and a wide selection of hot, cold, and adult beverages. You can conveniently pay for purchases using cash, credit, or most debit cards.

While you can bring your food and drink onto the train, keeping adult beverages in your bag is best. Amtrak cannot store or heat any food or drink you bring onto the train.

Amtrak Borealis schedule or timetable

Here is the Amtrak Borealis schedule or timetable, and below is a PDF. You can download or print it out. The Empire Builder or Hiawatha could also work for you, depending on your destination and needs.

Empire Builder
Communities Served8/28
Empire Builder
Read DownRead DownDaily TrainsMilesLast StopLast Stop
11:05a3:05pChicago, IL
Union Station (CHI) (CT)
11:27a3:29pGlenview, IL (GLN) (Metra)174:12p6:46p
12:05pSturtevant, WI (SVT)636:08p
12:19pMilwaukee, WI Airport MKA785:55p
12:34p –
4:35p –
Milwaukee, WI
Downtown Intermodal (MKE)
852:57p –
5:40p –
1:41p5:55pColumbus, WI (CBS) (Madison)1501:47p4:26p
2:13p6:24pPortage, WI (POG)1781:17p3:58p
2:33p6:42pWisconsin Dells, WI (WDL)19512:58p3:40p
3:17p7:20pTomah, WI (TOH)24012:16p2:57p
3:58p8:04pLa Crosse, WI
Amtrak Station (LSE)
4:36p8:40pWinona, MN (WIN)30811:01a1:40p
5:40p9:42pRed Wing, MN (RDW)3719:44a12:35p
6:29p10:56pSt. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
Union Depot (MSP)
Last StopLast StopStationsMilesRead UpRead Up
This schedule is a guide; check with Amtrak for current times.

Amtrak Borealis printable schedule

You can try to print out the Amtrak Borealis schedule below or from Learn how to print Amtrak custom or route schedules.

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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