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Train tussle: Campaign fights plan for ‘wall of railcars’ on Richmond shoreline

On a recent morning, small waves lapped at the rocky shore, picnickers gathered at tables around a lagoon, and families perambulated along the eastern edge of San Francisco Bay to enjoy a sunny day in Richmond. The scenic escape at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline was carved out of an industrial waterfront more than four decades ago to provide a refuge from the press of nearby freeways, refineries, chemical plants and factories.

But a battle between the regional park district and BNSF Railway could soon determine whether the 307-acre space remains a peaceful sanctuary or becomes home to a busy diesel rail line — something many residents adamantly oppose.

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BNSF plan to reactivate rail line in Richmond park faces opposition

Public opposition has mounted over the possibility that the track at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline could be reactivated.

Richmond city leaders are battling plans by BNSF Railway Company to reactivate a rail line in Point Richmond’s Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline Park.

The controversy is happening at the same time the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) advances a long-ranging land use plan amendment for the scenic shoreline park in Point Richmond that includes turning the long-dormant rail line into a segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail. The EBRPD and BNSF are in a legal dispute over the ownership rights of the rail lines within the public park established in 1974.

Allowing diesel trains to operate within a heavily-used recreational park presents safety and health risks, opponents say, and would also block panoramic Bay views from the park.

Richmond Councilmember Demnlus Johnson III called the proposal a “slap in the face” to residents who rely on the park as a refuge from nearby industry.

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EBRPD okays Miller Knox land use plan, vows to fight diesel trains in the park

OAKLAND - The East Bay Regional Park District board of directors unanimously approved a land-use plan amendment for Miller Knox Park Tuesday. The board also vowed to fight Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's stated intention of running diesel engines and railcars along the shoreline in the park from Point Richmond out to Ferry Point.

At a standing-room only meeting at EBRPD headquarters, more than a dozen members of the public spoke in favor of the land use plan - and against BNSF.

"They have not been good neighbors to Richmond," Jordan DeStaebler said of BNSF.

In late February, the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to oppose the railroad's plans. PRNC OPPOSES.

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East Bay Regional Park District to discuss BNSF plans to run diesels in Miller Knox

OAKLAND - The East Bay Regional Park District board Tuesday is expected to discuss plans announced by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad to run diesel trains along the shoreline in Miller Knox Park.

The discussion is expected to be part of the board's adoption of a new land use plan for Miller Knox.

The railroad corporation's plans for trains in the park have already received a unanimous thumbs down from the Point Richmond

Neighborhood Council at its Wednesday, Feb. 27 meeting. LINK: PRNC votes to oppose.
KCBS radio ran a report on train proposal Saturday March 9: LINK to KCBS story.

Railcars being pulled into the tunnel to Miller Knox Park

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Train Tracks Could Be Re-Activated at Point Richmond's Miller Knox Park

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is looking to re-activate the train tracks at Miller Knox Park in Point Richmond, despite opposition from city leaders. KCBS Radio's Carrie Hodousek reports from the park.

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