News & Politics

“Amtrak Joe” Biden Will No Longer Take the Train to His Inauguration

The president-elect has taken the commuter rail from Wilmington to DC for almost 50 years.

Heightened security concerns have derailed plans for President-elect Joe Biden to take his beloved Amtrak trip from Wilmington to DC on January 19 for the inauguration. The commuter rail line has played a significant role during Biden’s political career (they don’t call him”Amtrak Joe” for nothing).

Biden’s history with the train can be traced back to his first term in Congress 48 years ago. After the death of his first wife Neilia and daughter Naomi, the rookie senator took the train from the Capitol back to his hometown of Wilmington each night to care for his young sons, Beau and Hunter Biden. The 90-minute journey would continue for 36 years. In 2011, the Wilmington train station was named the Joseph R. Biden Jr. Station.

Biden announced his first presidential run—back in 1987—at the Wilmington station. After declaring his most recent bid, Biden was spotted riding on the line, business as usual (and often up for a selfie).

Along the way, Biden forged connections with Amtrak employees. The president-elect has hosted barbecues at his Wilmington home for railway workers.

As one former Biden staffer told Washingtonian in 2009: any briefing books Biden was given for his trip home would often return unmarked. ” There were so many people who wanted a piece of him—the porter, the passengers, people who knew his mother, not fancy-pants lobbyists, ordinary people—he loves, love, loves talking to ordinary people.”

 

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Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.