President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke Saturday night by phone, with some of their conversation reportedly focusing on a mutual love of train travel.
Johnson asked Biden about his Amtrak journeys, according to a Sunday report in The Telegraph.
Biden, who is sometimes called “Amtrak Joe,” commuted from Delaware to Washington on the train for 36 years. CNN estimated he took about 8,000 round trips on the same route.
Biden had planned to take the train on the morning of his inauguration, but changed his schedule over safety concerns, according to The Associated Press. He promised a “railroad revolution” during his presidency, meaning he’d work to improve the country’s struggling rail system.
Biden and Johnson’s discussion about train travel led to a wider discussion about green energy and climate change, according The Telegraph.
Official readouts of the first Biden-Johnson call focused on cooperation between the two countries in tackling climate change, Covid-19, and “global health security”.
The White House said: “The President conveyed his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and revitalize transatlantic ties, underscoring the critical role of NATO to our collective defense and shared values.”
The train conversation also didn’t make it into the official UK government readout of the call, which said the leaders “discussed the benefits of a potential free trade deal.”
Johnson “reiterated his intention to resolve existing trade issues as soon as possible,” the official statement said.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to give a timeline for trade talks between the two allies, according to a transcript of her comments.
She said Biden and security advisor Jake Sullivan see a deal as important, because “everything we do must help advance working families and the American middle class.”
Psaki added: “But at this point in time we’re working to get the pandemic under control, provide economic relief to the American public. We, of course, can do multiple things at the same time, but those are our primary priorities at this point.”
Saturday’s call marked the first transatlantic call for Biden since taking office on Wednesday.