Wilmington station (Delaware)

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Wilmington, DE
Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Railroad Station
Amtrak and SEPTA station
Wilmington Station from parking garage, July 2014.JPG
Wilmington station, July 2014
General information
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
ConnectionsBus transport Amtrak Thruway
Bus transport DART First State
Bus transport Greyhound Lines
Construction
ParkingGarage and street parking
Bicycle facilitiesIn parking garage on French Street
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeAmtrak: WIL
SEPTA: 90203
Fare zone4 (SEPTA)
History
Opened1908
Rebuilt2011
ElectrifiedSeptember 30, 1928[1] (Philadelphia)
January 28, 1935[2] (Washington D.C.; ceremonial)
February 10, 1935[3] (Washington D.C.; regular service)
Previous namesFrench Street
Wilmington Pennsylvania Station
Passengers
FY 2021227,919[4] (Amtrak)
2017878 boardings
632 alightings
(weekday average)[5] (SEPTA)
Rank19 of 146 (SEPTA)
Services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Baltimore Acela 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 BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Newark, Delaware Chesapeake Chester
Baltimore Federal Philadelphia
Aberdeen
toward Tri-State
Hilltopper
Baltimore Metroliner Philadelphia
toward New York
Montrealer Philadelphia
toward Montreal
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
Newport Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Edge Moor
Terminus Wilmington Line Edge Moor
New Castle Delmarva Division Terminus
Wilmington Station
Area2 buildings and 1 structure on 3.3 acres (1.3 ha)
ArchitectFurness, Evans & Co.
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
NRHP reference No.76000581[6]
Added to NRHPNovember 21, 1976

The Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Railroad Station, also known as Wilmington station, is a passenger rail station in Wilmington, Delaware. It serves nine Amtrak train routes 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.

Built in 1907 as Pennsylvania Station, the station was renamed in 2011 for then-Vice President (now President) Joe Biden, an advocate for passenger rail who routinely took the train from Wilmington to Washington, D.C. during his time as a Senator from 1973 to 2009.[7] In 1987, Biden formally announced his ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination at this station. Located on Front Street between French and Walnut Streets in downtown Wilmington, the station has one inside level with stores, a cafe/newsstand, Amtrak and SEPTA ticket offices, a car rental office, and restrooms. Passengers board their trains on the second-story train platforms.

History[edit]

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.[8]

It was built in 1907 for $300,000 by the PW&B successor, the Pennsylvania Railroad.[9] 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.)[9]

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.[8] 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.[8]

Wilmington Station has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976.[10] A renovation project was conducted in 1984.[9] The National Register added the adjacent railroad viaduct in 1999. SEPTA has been running to Wilmington since 1989.[11]

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.[7][9] During construction, customer operations, including platform access, were moved to a temporary station next door.[9] The station reopened on December 6, 2010, and final work was completed in March 2011.[7][12]

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 (now 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.[7][13] 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.[14]

The adjacent Wilmington Transit Center for DART First State bus service opened in May 2020.[15]

Services[edit]

Trains[edit]

A northbound Amtrak Northeast Regional train stops at Wilmington station

The station is served by Amtrak Northeast Regional and Acela trains along the Northeast Corridor going south to Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and going north to Philadelphia, New York City, 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 Miami, and the Vermonter to St. Albans, 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 buses[edit]

Wilmington Bus Station serving Greyhound Lines

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.[16]

Local transit[edit]

Wilmington Transit Center serving DART First State buses

DART First State bus routes serving Wilmington station include 2, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 28, 31, 33, 35, 37, 40, 47, 52, 301, and 305 (seasonally). Most buses stop at the Wilmington Transit Center adjacent to the station.

The Wilmington Transit Center was 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 serves most DART First State bus routes in Wilmington and includes 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 cost $19 million and opened on May 17, 2020.[17][18][19]

Station layout[edit]

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 toward Temple University (Claymont)
Side platform, doors will open on left or right
G Street Level Exit/entrance, Amtrak and SEPTA ticketing, waiting room, restrooms, rental cars, cafe/newsstand, connections to local and Greyhound buses, parking

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Electric Trains in Service on Pennsy". The Every Evening. Wilmington, Delaware. October 1, 1928. p. 1. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  2. ^ "Pennsy's New Electric Train Breaks Record". The Evening Sun. Baltimore, Maryland. January 28, 1935. p. 28. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  3. ^ "N.Y.-Washington Electric Train Service Starts Sunday on P.R.R." The Daily Home News. New Brunswick, New Jersey. February 9, 1935. p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  4. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2021: State of Delaware" (PDF). Amtrak. August 2022. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  5. ^ "Fiscal Year 2021 Service Plan Update". SEPTA. June 2020. p. 24. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b c Great American Stations. Accessed March 8, 2013.
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ New Castle County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places (Building – #76000581)
  11. ^ New Castle County Listings at the National Register of Historic Places (Structure – #99001276)
  12. ^ "Historic Wilmington Train Station Re-Opens" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. December 6, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  13. ^ Bothum, Kelly (March 19, 2011). "Biden: 'I don't deserve' Amtrak station honor". The News Journal. Retrieved March 19, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "New DART bus hub opens near train station". Delaware Business Now. May 20, 2020.
  16. ^ "Wilmington Bus Station". Greyhound Lines. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "Groundbreaking for Wilmington Transit Center Celebrated Today" (Press release). DART First State. November 19, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Join DART for a Community Conversation". DART First State. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  19. ^ "DART Statewide Service Change - Effective: Sunday, May 17, 2020". DART First State. Retrieved May 12, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

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

External links[edit]