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Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station, also known as Wilmington, is a passenger rail station in Wilmington, Delaware. One of Amtrak's busiest stops, it serves nine Amtrak trains and is part of the Northeast Corridor. It also serves SEPTA Regional Rail commuter trains on the Wilmington/Newark Line as well as DART First State local buses and Greyhound Lines intercity buses.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. Station
Wilmington, DE
Wilmington Station from parking garage, July 2014.JPG
The Wilmington station in July 2014
Location100 South French Street
Wilmington, Delaware
United States
Coordinates39°44′12″N 75°33′04″W / 39.736759°N 75.551093°W / 39.736759; -75.551093Coordinates: 39°44′12″N 75°33′04″W / 39.736759°N 75.551093°W / 39.736759; -75.551093
Owned byAmtrak
Line(s)Northeast Corridor
Platforms2 side platforms, 1 island platform
Tracks3
ConnectionsIntercity Bus Thruway Motorcoach
Intercity Bus Greyhound Lines
Local Transit DART First State
Construction
ParkingGarages and side street parking
Bicycle facilitiesIn parking garage on French Street
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeWIL (Amtrak)
Fare zone4 (SEPTA)
History
Opened1908
Rebuilt2011
Electrified1928
Previous namesFrench Street
Wilmington Pennsylvania Station
Traffic
Passengers (2016)691,694 annually[1]Decrease 1.2% (Amtrak)
Services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Baltimore Acela Express Philadelphia
Vermonter Philadelphia
toward St. Albans
Baltimore
toward Chicago
Cardinal Philadelphia
toward New York
Baltimore
toward Charlotte
Carolinian
Baltimore Crescent
Baltimore
toward Savannah
Palmetto
Newark, Delaware Northeast Regional Philadelphia
Baltimore
toward Miami
Silver Meteor Philadelphia
toward New York
Silver Star
Preceding station SEPTA.svg SEPTA Following station
Churchmans Crossing
toward Newark
Wilmington/​Newark Line Claymont
Former services
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
Newport Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Edge Moor
Terminus Wilmington Line Edge Moor
New Castle Delmarva Division Terminus
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Baltimore Federal Philadelphia
Aberdeen
toward Tri-State
Hilltopper
Baltimore Metroliner Philadelphia
toward New York
Montrealer Philadelphia
toward Montreal
Wilmington Station
Area2 buildings and 1 structure on 3.3 acres (1.3 ha)
ArchitectFurness, Evans & Co.
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
NRHP reference #76000581[2]
Added to NRHPNovember 21, 1976

Built in 1907 as Pennsylvania Station, the station was renamed in 2011 for then-Vice President and former U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., an advocate for passenger rail who routinely took the train from Wilmington to Washington, D.C.[3] On June 9, 1987, then Senator Biden formally announced his ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 1988 Democratic Presidential Nomination at the station. Located on Front Street between French and Walnut Streets in downtown Wilmington, the station has one inside level with stores, a cafe/newsstand, ticket offices for Amtrak and SEPTA/DART First State, a car rental office, and a post office. Passengers board their trains on the second-story train platforms.

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
The station from above in a 1977 Historic American Engineering Record survey photo
 
The station in 2010 during renovation

The station replaced an earlier station erected by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.[4]

It was built in 1907 for $300,000 by the PW&B successor, the Pennsylvania Railroad.[5] It was designed by renowned architect Frank Furness, who also designed the adjacent Pennsylvania Railroad Building (which housed the offices for the Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad) and the nearby Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Water Street Station. (The Pennsylvania Railroad Building has since been renovated; as of 2014, it holds the offices of ING Direct United States.)[5]

Admired for his use of new and innovative materials and his forceful architectural statements, Furness chose to have the trains move right through the second floor of the station, with room for a ticketing and retail concourse at ground level underneath the tracks.[4] This unconventional arrangement celebrated the power of the locomotive and America's industrial strength. The north end of the station has a four-faced rectangular clock tower that rises an extra story above the main roof. It is decorated with stone and terra cotta work that is repeated in plainer form throughout the station.[4]

Wilmington Station has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976.[6] A renovation project was conducted in 1984.[5] The National Register added the adjacent railroad viaduct in 1999. SEPTA has been running to Wilmington since 1989.[7]

In 2009, the station began a two-year restoration; about two-thirds of the $37.7 million in funding came from United States government stimulus funds.[3][5] During construction, customer operations, including platform access, were moved to a temporary station next door.[5] The station reopened on December 6, 2010, and final work was completed in March 2011.[3][8]

On March 19, 2011, the station's name was changed from Wilmington Station to Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station. The ceremony honored U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who took over 7,000 round trips from the station to Washington, D.C. during his U.S. Senate career and was noted as an advocate for Amtrak and passenger rail more generally.[3][9] On January 20, 2017, within an hour after completing his tenure as Vice President, Biden boarded an Amtrak Acela train in Washington, D.C. bound for his namesake station.[10]

ServicesEdit

TrainsEdit

 
A northbound Amtrak Northeast Regional train stops at Wilmington station

The station is served by Amtrak Northeast Regional and Acela Express trains along the Northeast Corridor going south to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and going north to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. It is also served by several long distance trains including the Cardinal to Chicago, the Carolinian to Charlotte, the Crescent to New Orleans, the Palmetto to Savannah, the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor to Florida, and the Vermonter to Vermont. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service is provided through the station to Dover, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland via Greyhound Lines.

Despite being just 25 miles south of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, the third-busiest Amtrak station in the country, Wilmington Station is a major Amtrak station in its own right. It is the seventh-busiest Amtrak station in the Mid-Atlantic region (behind New York Penn, Washington Union, 30th Street, Baltimore Penn, Albany-Rensselaer and BWI) and the 13th-busiest nationwide.

It is also served by SEPTA Regional Rail's Wilmington/Newark Line with service to Center City Philadelphia and Newark, Delaware. Like all stations in Delaware, SEPTA service is provided under contract and funded through DART First State, which also provides extensive local bus service as they have since 1994.

Intercity busesEdit

Greyhound Lines intercity buses stop at the Wilmington Bus Station adjacent to the Wilmington station at 101 North French Street. The bus terminal is attached to the station's parking garage. Greyhound Lines provides direct, one seat ride service from the bus terminal to various cities including Baltimore, New York City, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Washington, D.C.[11]

Local transitEdit

DART First State bus routes serving Wilmington station include 2, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 28, 31, 33, 35, 40, 45, 48, 52, 54, 55, 301, and 305 (seasonally). Buses stop along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at French Street.

The Wilmington Transit Center is being built as a DART First State bus hub adjacent to Wilmington station. A groundbreaking ceremony for the transit center was held on November 19, 2018, with Governor John Carney, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, and DART First State CEO John Sisson in attendance. The Wilmington Transit Center will serve most DART First State bus routes in Wilmington and will include a covered waiting area with seats, real-time bus displays, a ticket sales office, restrooms, vending machines, bicycle racks, and parking. Construction of the transit center will cost $19 million and is planned to be completed in December 2019.[12]

Station layoutEdit

P
Platform level
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Track 3      Northeast Regional toward Washington or Norfolk (Newark)
     Amtrak services towards Baltimore and points south (Baltimore)
     Wilmington/​Newark Line toward Newark (Churchmans Crossing)
Island platform, doors will open on the left or right
Track 2      Northeast Regional toward Washington or Norfolk (Newark)
     Amtrak services towards Baltimore and points south (Baltimore)
     Wilmington/​Newark Line toward Newark (Churchmans Crossing)
     Northeast Regional toward New York or Boston (Philadelphia)
     Amtrak services toward Philadelphia and points north (Philadelphia)
Track 1      Wilmington/​Newark Line alighting passengers only
     Wilmington/​Newark Line toward Temple University (Claymont)
Side platform, doors will open on left or right
G Street Level Waiting area, restrooms, Amtrak and SEPTA/DART First State ticket offices, car rental office, cafe/newsstand, connections to DART First State and Greyhound Lines buses, parking

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2016, State of Delaware" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Travers, Karen (March 16, 2011). "'Amtrak Joe' Biden Gets His Own Train Station". ABC News. Archived from the original on March 19, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Great American Stations. Accessed March 8, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e Taylor, Adam (April 3, 2010), "Delaware transportation: For now, it's a headache on all sides of the tracks", The News Journal (delawareonline), Wilmington: Gannett, retrieved December 9, 2010 (subscription required)
  6. ^ New Castle County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places (Building – #76000581)
  7. ^ New Castle County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places (Structure – #99001276)
  8. ^ "Historic Wilmington Train Station Re-Opens" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  9. ^ Bothum, Kelly (March 19, 2011). "Biden: 'I don't deserve' Amtrak station honor". The News Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2011.
  10. ^ Cherry, Amy (January 20, 2017). "VIDEO: Crowd cheers, chants 'Welcome Home Joe' for the homecoming of Delaware's own". Wilmington, DE: WDEL. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  11. ^ "Wilmington Bus Station". Greyhound Lines. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Groundbreaking for Wilmington Transit Center Celebrated Today" (Press release). DART First State. November 19, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.

Further readingEdit

  • Dilts, James D. (Fall–Winter 2010). "Three Amtrak Stations Take Different Roads to Rehabilitation". Railroad History (203): 46–50. JSTOR 43525153.

External linksEdit