Published February 28, 2013
As the federal budget goes off the rails, Joe Biden's getting back on -- with Amtrak.
The looming sequester is forcing the veep to once again take the train -- as opposed to military aircraft -- to his weekend trips home to Delaware.
Biden said Wednesday he initiated the change, calling it the one thing about the sequester that's working to his "benefit."
Speaking at the National Association of Attorneys General, Biden said that while he took nearly 8,000 train trips as senator, the Secret Service made him travel by air because the Amtrak "gives too many opportunities for people to interact with me in a way they wouldn't like to see."
But because of the looming budget cuts, Biden said: "I was able to say, 'Look guys, I've got to take the train now -- it's cheaper than flying.' So I get to take the train again."
The plane trips to Delaware cost tens of thousands of dollars each, according to published reports.
Multiple sources confirmed the vice president's plans.
"AF2 is grounded for weekend trips starting Friday," one source said, referring to the pricey military plane Biden uses most weekends to travel home, often to play golf at Fieldstone Golf Club, a private club. Biden also occasionally flies by military plane to Delaware during the week.
"He'll start taking the train again this weekend when the sequestration starts. It's a huge expense to be taking the military flights," a source said. "So now it's back to 'regular Joe."
And by "regular Joe," that means first-class seats, nowhere near the quiet car. Those familiar with the veep's travel history say Biden would pass some of the one-hour, 18-minute trip from D.C. to Wilmington, Del., reading the paper or reviewing work materials.
But mostly he just talks, a source said. A lot. And poses for photos.
"He just walks around shaking hands posing for pics," said the source. "He talks to everyone and anyone, and doesn't sit still."