The man known as ‘Amtrak Joe’ Biden will be the most pro-railroad president for many decades. This time a new President is a big thing for passenger trains in America. Biden uses the train between Washington DC and Wilmington, Delaware, where the station bears his name. In 1972 after he suffered the tragic death of his wife and and baby daughter in a road accident Joe Biden began his routine of traveling home by train every night to care for his surviving children. It’s reckoned Joe has spent four years of life on trains – not a normal thing to do in recent America.
There is of course much more to building a rail network than presidential sentiment. But it can’t harm the chances of people looking more seriously at high speed rail plans. And certainly it will be a different atmosphere to the last administration who looked to replacing some classic train services with buses.
There are a lot more obstacles to building railways in this century than than there were in the nineteenth. Nonetheless, goodwill is a good start. We’ll see how many miles of track Amtrak Joe can inspire.