So I'm going to Chicago next month. I have the option of taking the Cardinal or the LSL back to Penn on the day I'm leaving (on a Saturday) each with it's pro's and cons:
Since I live in CT, I'm going to have to go to Grand Central, and I could just disembark at Poughkeepsie or Croton-Harmon (like I did the last time I was on the LSL) so I could have the cross-platform or same-platform transfer to GCT instead of lugging luggage across Midtown.
Also a later departure and shorter arrival time. More time in Chicago, and an earlier arrival into Penn means even if it's really delayed I could probably still get the commuter rail back to home base in Fairfield County.
One of the most scenic routes in the system, and I would cross this off my list since I've never taken it before.
Aside from the stretch from Albany-Penn, most of the rest of the line is boring with not a lot of highlights, and I've ridden this line plenty of times from Penn/Croton/Poughkeepsie/Springfield to Cleveland & Chicago so it wouldn't be a first time thing.
Cardinal cons (and this is my only hangup):
Since it doesn't run on Metro North tracks I have to go all the way to Penn, meaning I have to make my own way to GCT and not get a connection at Poughkeepsie/Croton like I could on the LSL if I'm running late, and if the Cardinal is running 3+ hours late there's a pretty good chance I will miss the last Metro North train, and it's quite possible even 2.5 hours late that could happen too.
I would prefer to take the Cardinal 1) because I've never taken it and 2) It seems like it's a better route to take EB (towards NY) than WB (towards Chicago) but if I have a 50% chance of arriving into Penn after 12:45 (or about 2.5 hours late) than I'd go for the LSL and make sure I can actually get the Metro North, so what I'm asking, even though it's not this topic how's the on-time percentage been for the EB Cardinal the last 6 months or so??