One selling point highlighted at this week’s DNC early on was Biden’s three decades spent commuting by train (as a DNC clip showed) from Delaware to Washington, D.C. As the Democratic Senator made rounds on train isles shaking hands with employees, he would express what seemed to be genuine concern for their personal lives and issues facing them on their jobs. Contrasted with a hugely wealthy media mogul in President Trump, their backgrounds couldn’t seem more different, except being professional, septuagenarian, white men leading their respective political parties in 2020.
So, to know more about Biden’s Amtrak intra-state train commute, I asked Google all about his journey.
My first hit took me to an article describing, by women’s magazine Marie Claire’s website, how Biden was known as “Amtrak Joe” from his time on those front lines of the DC commute two-way, daily battle to get to work and back in bed on time. In terms of size, Delaware is small, about 49 or 50 smallest of US states, right next to Rhode Island. What matter, though, is a rank of Delaware on the list of smallest states? The answer is that it does score low, but in terms of closeness to Washington, DC, it lands high. But that still small state also represented a location where he and his new wife recuperated from his near loss of two sons and loss of his daughter and previous spouse, all before becoming Vice President. (He in fact continued the train commute once his office changed over to the White House from Capitol Hill, and was spotted once elected in 2016 on a return home to Delaware on Amtrak’s service.)
While his train journey started when the car accident occurred in 1972, maybe not even Biden expected he could pull together a career marked by his longevity and ability to do his job, as Amtrak workers would greet him first thing since his first day working in the Senate and commuting by train. A 90-minute, more or less, ride, took him at a 7:46 AM departure on the Metroliner, next called the Acela, where first in 2009 he was greeted by some 8,000 supporters there to see him off on his new election to the Vice Presidency. He would take that train to his and Obama’s first inauguration, he wrote in an 2010 op-Ed for the Huffington Post.
While until Baltimore he would work on reading papers and making phone calls, then reviewing witnesses for that day’s hearings later, he would feel prepared “to jump right in” by the time he arrived. At evening time, on his ride home from work to his family, “For 36 years, I was able to make most of those birthday parties, to get home to read bedtime stories, to cheer for my children at their soccer games.” Looking at lit suburban home windows on his train’s route back home at night, Biden reflected, as he said he always does, on problems those families sitting inside faced and hoped elected representatives like Biden could understand, which is what Biden said he worked for, as he still does. Trains play a key part to our sustainable future, and with Biden what shown through, for most, is a genuine working-class politician who happened to exemplify benefits of train travel in the US.