Wilmington Station

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Wilmington Station from parking garage, July 2014.JPG
Wilmington Station in July 2014
Location 100 South French Street
Wilmington, Delaware
United States
Coordinates 39°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 by Amtrak
Line(s) Northeast Corridor
Platforms 2 side platforms, 1 island platform
Tracks 3
Connections Intercity Bus Thruway Motorcoach
Local Transit DART First State
Parking Garages and side street parking
Bicycle facilities In parking garage on French Street
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code WIL(Amtrak Only)
Fare zone 4 (SEPTA)
Opened 1908
Rebuilt 2011
Electrified 1928
Previous names French Street
Passengers (2014) 704,523 annually[1]Decrease 4.57% (Amtrak)
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
Acela Express
toward Chicago
toward Charlotte
toward New Orleans
toward Savannah
Northeast Regional
toward Miami
Silver Meteor
Silver Star
toward St. Albans
toward Newark
Wilmington/Newark Line
  Former services  
Pennsylvania Railroad
Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
toward Philadelphia
Terminus Wilmington Line
toward Cape Charles
Delmarva Division Terminus
Wilmington Amtrak Station
Area 2 buildings and 1 structure on 3.3 acres (1.3 ha)
Architect Furness, Evans & Co.
Architectural style Romanesque Revival
NRHP Reference # 76000581[2]
Added to NRHP November 21, 1976

Wilmington Station (formally Joseph R. Biden Jr. Railroad Station) is a passenger rail station in Wilmington, Delaware.

Built in 1907 as Pennsylvania Station, the station was renamed in 2011 for Vice President and former U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., an advocate for passenger rail who routinely took the train from Wilmington to Washington, D.C. It is referred to simply as Wilmington in station announcements.[3]

Located on Front Street between French and Walnut Streets in downtown Wilmington, the station has one inside level which has stores, a cafe, Amtrak and SEPTA ticket offices, a car rental office, and a post office. Passengers board their trains on the second-story train platforms.

It is served by Amtrak trains along the Northeast Corridor going south to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and going north to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, the Silver Star and the Silver Meteor to Florida, and the Cardinal to Chicago. Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service is provided through the station to Dover and Seaford, Delaware, and Salisbury, Maryland. It is also served by SEPTA's Wilmington/Newark Regional Rail Line with service to 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.

Wilmington Station is assigned the IATA airport code of ZWI, even though at present there is no airline code share service to this station.


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 narby 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.[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 during his U.S. Senate career and was noted as an advocate for Amtrak and passenger rail more generally.[3][9]

Local transit[edit]

DART First State routes 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 28, 32, 35, 38, 45, 59, 301, and 305 (seasonally)

See also[edit]

Delaware portal


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2014, Delaware" (PDF). Amtrak Government Affairs. November 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Staff (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b c d Travers, Karen (March 16, 2011). "'Amtrak Joe' Biden Gets His Own Train Station". ABC News. 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. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Wilmington Station at Wikimedia Commons