A Unique Asset for Wilmington

JP Morgan Chase, Capital One — Wilmington, DE

The city of Wilmington, Delaware is a significant destination for business travel, yet the closest major airport is in Philadelphia, over 20 miles away. Wilmington’s downtown train station, within walking distance of the headquarters and regional offices of a number of credit card and financial services firms, is the most convenient link to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C.

One Wilmington-based credit card industry executive who participated in his company’s decision to open the Wilmington office cited access to credit card industry cluster talent in Wilmington, followed by convenient access to the company’s headquarters in New York City via Amtrak, as two of the most important factors that led his firm to locate there. This executive personally used Amtrak daily for five years to travel between Wilmington and the firm’s New York City headquarters.

Business representatives from firms such as JP Morgan Chase and Capital One also noted frequent use of Amtrak to attend meetings in New York City, with some individuals traveling to New York on a weekly basis. Capital One employees also noted their use of Amtrak to travel to Richmond and the firm’s corporate headquarters in Northern Virginia. All of these companies value the access to rail because it allows their staff with frequent travel demands to maintain their productivity while traveling, as they work online and can make phone calls from the train.

Rail’s travel time reliability is also highly valued by these businesses. Capital One’s internal travel booking system defaults to Acela as a company policy. In the absence of rail, or should the quality of rail service degrade, several business representatives noted that Wilmington’s attractiveness as a business location would be adversely affected. Even though these companies all make use of existing conference calling and web meeting technology, these options are not seen as substitutes for many face-to-face meetings.

Wilmington Station
The NEC connects Wilmington’s financial industry to other urban centers in the Northeast. Source: flickr user RW Sinclair.

“My primary motivation for using the train is productivity. It is an easier and smoother process when compared to flying and provides easy access to WiFi, food, and beverages. It gives me the ability to be productive when traveling without the hassle of air travel, and to date, without any significant delays.”

Rick Gessner, VP, Delaware Market Liaison, Capital One