PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama's historical whistle stop tour to Washington has gotten under way after an enthusiastic send-off from Philadelphia, the cradle of American democracy.
Obama and his family and a traveling party of guests, public officials and reporters left the city's 30th St. Station shortly before noon under a frigid, but sunny and clear blue sky.
As the train lumbered out of the station, a conductor bellowed: "Welcome aboard the 2009 inaugural train to DC."
The route — the same that Abraham Lincoln took nearly a century and a half ago — was 137 miles long, and Obama's arrival in the nation's capital was scheduled after the fall of dark Saturday.
The train moved at a fairly fast clip for the 45-minute ride to Wilmington, Del., passing knots of crowds gathered in the bitter cold so as not to miss their piece of the historic events. Commuter train platforms were filled, and smaller groups stood along the train tracks in between as well.