Amtrak schedules its long distance trains to maximize connections and for optimal arrival and departure times at the end point terminals.
That means that if you live near the middle of a route between Chicago and the East Coast, you’re going to see Amtrak during nighttime hours. Cleveland is about the mid-point for the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited.
If you were to visit the Cleveland Amtrak station at 2 p.m. on any given afternoon, no one would be around and the station might even be locked. But go there are 2 a.m. and the place will be alive with waiting passengers.
All four Amtrak trains that serve Cleveland are scheduled to arrive between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. The “best” scheduled time is for the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which is scheduled to depart at 5:50 a.m., which is not terrible, but still requires getting up rather early.
Of course, people travel every day on flights that leave about the same time, but with few exceptions domestic flights do not leave between midnight and 5 a.m. from U.S. airports.
This photo was made at 2:29 a.m. as I awaited the arrival of the westbound Capitol Limited. It was running late, but not by much.