Biden helps his Amtrak family celebrate its 50th anniversary

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President Joe Biden speaks during an event to mark Amtrak???s 50th anniversary at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Friday, April 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden didn't want to be anywhere else Friday than helping his Amtrak family celebrate 50 years on the rails.

“I wouldn't have missed this for the world,” he said at Amtrak's station in Philadelphia, where he used the occasion to plug his $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal.

Biden rode Amtrak almost daily between Washington and his home in Wilmington, Delaware, during his 36 years as a U.S. senator. As vice president, he went home by train most weekends to visit his mother, who was ill, before she passed away.

“In the process, Amtrak became my family,” Biden said.

He told of how Amtrak once helped him get out of trouble with his daughter Ashley. It was his birthday and the 6-year-old had made him a cake, but was upset that he was in Washington because the Senate was voting and wouldn't get home for it.

Biden said he arranged to slip out between votes to catch an evening train home, where he quickly crossed the station platform to get on the next train back to Washington.

“I got off the train. My wife, Jill, was standing there, and my daughter had the cake, candle lit," Biden said. “I blew them out. Gave me a kiss. Walked across and got on the southbound.”

“So, it has been part of my life. I’ve been riding an Amtrak for almost as long as there’s been an Amtrak,” he said.