Newark Regional Transportation Center renamed as Thomas R. Carper Station

Carper has long been a train travel evangelist, much like President Biden. Now the Newark Regional Transportation Center near the University of Delaware will bear his name.

Tom Carper posing with people in front of the station

Senator Tom Carper and other officials stood in front of one of the signs at the Newark Regional Transportation Center, which was renamed in his honor. (Johnny Perez-Gonzalez/WHYY)

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Tom Carper won his first statewide election in 1976 when he started the first of three terms as state treasurer. After that, he ripped off an unprecedented string of 18 election victories, rising from treasurer to five terms in the U.S. House, two terms as governor and four terms in the U.S. Senate.

The 77-year-old announced last year that he would not run for re-election this fall, thereby ending the longest election win streak in Delaware’s history.

“Not bad for a kid who was born in a coal mining town in West Virginia,” Carper said as he reflected on his career.

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The state lawmakers are now honoring his legacy by renaming the Newark Regional Transportation Center near the University of Delaware as Thomas R. Carper Station.

“I’ve loved trains,” Carper said after the renaming ceremony in Newark Friday morning. “I’m a big advocate for interstate passenger rail service, a big advocate for transit service. If we’re serious about addressing climate change or climate crisis on our planet … [we have to] use Amtrak a whole lot more than we’re doing.”

Over his long political career, Carper has made hundreds of train trips from Delaware to Washington. Most of those trips originated at the Wilmington train station, which was named after President Joe Biden in 2011.

“We’re proud of the partnership that we have here in Delaware with DelDOT, with the folks at the state of Delaware Dept. of Transportation,” Carper said. “It’s not a no one-person job. It’s a team effort.”

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Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad opened the Newark train station in 1877 when Newark had a population of only about 3,000 residents. Amtrak eventually owned the station but shuttered it in 1970. In the late 80s, Newark started raising grant funds to restore the station, and Amtrak deeded the station building to the city. In 2020, a station modernization project was completed.

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