Joe Biden had AMTRAK trips between D.C. and Wilmington, Delaware so imprinted in his DNA that he must really miss them now.
For 35 years, then Senator Biden commuted each working morning and each working night — 100 miles each way — to be with his wife and children. After losing his first wife and daughter in a tragic auto accident that nearly also took the lives of his two sons, Beau and Hunter, who survived, he made sure he was home.
I figure that Biden did about 48,000 miles a year on AMTRAK.
At 35 years, that’s approximately 1.68 million miles. In air flight miles, that’s like ten million miles – particularly given the number of segments traveled and frequency. The Hill newspaper previously approximated Biden’s travel at 1.44 million miles — but I give Biden credit for non-working session days that he still commuted.
George Clooney would be proud, even though we are talking trains.
I am this morning back in Wilmington’s AMTRAK station — Vice President Biden’s daily arrival and departure spot for 35 years — and am watching the station undergo some new raily retrofitting and station modernization. The waiting area for the public is pretty small for the time being — as construction continues — and the clustering is pretty intimate. But I’m sure that the Senator turned V.P. would have said hello and met every person at that station. Just the way he is.
I remember several times getting off of the AMTRAK in Washington on my way down from New York and seeing his long time national security adviser Antony Blinken or his legal counsel Brian McKeon. I’d say hello to them and would ask if the boss was with them. They’d say, somewhat sheepishly, yes — he’s still back there talking. He’d always find someone to talk to — Biden’s great strength and easy-to-spoof weakness.
But I think it’s probably fair to say that Biden deserves a Guinness Book of World Records distinction for the Member of Congress who has traveled more on AMTRAK (or rails of any kind) than any other Member in American history.
Thus, I think he deserves a train station — and while Wilmington AMTRAK is doing all of this fix-up stuff, it’s about time that AMTRAK, the State of Delaware, and the City of Wilmington rebrand the station there:
The Joseph R. Biden Jr. AMTRAK Station
I’m one of those who generally likes AMTRAK, though my feelings are less warm and fuzzy when I’m on Shanghai’s MagLev or one of the Shinkansen lines in Japan.
But this morning on this northeastern corridor line, I feel lucky to have it — and think that it was good that someone like Biden, who despite having his own auto entourage now whenever he leaves his temporary home at the Naval Observatory, probably still feels a pull to trains.
— Steve Clemons