Richmond, CA (RIC)
The Richmond Transit Center, designed in an industrial post-modern style, allows for easy, convenient transfers between Amtrak, BART and local bus routes.
1700 Nevin Avenue
Richmond, CA 94802
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 269,838
- Facility Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Parking Lot Ownership: Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Amtrak stop in Richmond consists of an island platform with a sheltering canopy, first constructed in 1984, that is part of a busy Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Richmond, an eastern suburb of San Francisco. On October 18, 2007, civic leaders gathered to celebrate a $6.4 million renovation of the intermodal center, which included construction of a new station building, entry plaza and canopy. This renovation was done as part of the city’s Transit Village urban redevelopment project, and the station was subsequently renamed the Richmond Transit Center. In addition to Amtrak and BART, the transit center is served by local and regional bus lines.
The new station exhibits a strongly industrial post-modern style. The entrance, sheltered by a wide semi-circle of sail-like canopy floating high over exposed supporting beams and trusses, boasts artfully lettered signage announcing the city name, and leads down to a spacious tile, formed-concrete, and brushed steel subway with scalloped concrete ceiling. The subway connects the stairs to the Amtrak platforms and the escalators to the BART platforms and provides space for ticketing kiosks and informational posters. The above-ground structure centers around a tower that is reminiscent of a steamship funnel. A wall of glass squares fronts the other spaces above ground. On the platform, the exposed supports for the gently concave stretch of canopy continue the highly functional industrial and maritime themes and provide shelter from the elements.
In 2016, BART installed new drought-tolerant native landscaping around the station including colorful trees, shrubs and flowers. New bioswales collect rainwater and allow it to diffuse slowly into the ground where the native plants help break down pollutants. Energy efficient LED lighting and new, safer pedestrian pathways were also installed as part of the station improvement project.
Passenger service to Richmond began with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) in 1900, as it was a western terminus of the system. Eventually, several competing services passed through the city. The two primary trains originating in the Central Valley were the ATSF’s Golden Gate(Oakland-Bakersfield) and the Southern Pacific’s San Joaquin Daylight(Oakland-Los Angeles). With the general decline of rail ridership in the mid-20th century, the ATSF abandoned Golden Gate operations in 1968, and theSan Joaquin Daylight was discontinued with the start up of Amtrak service in May 1971.
The Richmond station was originally built for BART in 1973 as a nexus of several subway lines. Amtrak’s San Joaquin began connecting the Bay Area with the Central Valley and Southern California again in 1974, but did not stop in Richmond until early 1978. Capitol Corridor trains, which run between the Bay area and Sacramento, began service in 1991 and also stop in Richmond.
Situated in a region of downtown Richmond known as the Iron Triangle for its location within a triangle of rail lines, the station has become the centerpiece of a 16.7-acre urban redevelopment project. The Transit Village-Metro Walk was conceived as a comprehensive program to enhance the quality of life in the Iron Triangle, an economically distressed and minority neighborhood of the city center. Using principles of sustainable growth and new urbanism, the project is intended to integrate housing, shopping, enhanced transit facilities, a new cultural facility and public resources.
The Ohlone Indians were the earliest inhabitants of this peninsula northeast of San Francisco, which marks the boundary between San Francisco and San Pablo bays. Spanish explorers Pedro Fages and Reverend Juan Crespi reached the city’s future site in 1772, and after the war of Mexican independence in 1823, Don Francisco Castro was give 17,000 acres of land in Contra Costa; this vast acreage became known as Rancho San Pablo.
The town’s name is said to date from 1849, when Edmund Randolph, originally from Richmond, Va., represented the San Francisco area at the first meeting of the state’s legislature. His loyalty to his origins apparently motivated the naming of both Richmond and Point Richmond in the 1854 geodetic map which was at the terminal of the San Joaquin Valley Railroad. Convention carried the day, and by 1899, all the maps made by the railroad used those names.
Augustin S. MacDonald visited Point Richmond in 1895, and conceived the idea of a transcontinental rail terminal and ferry service to provide a direct route to San Francisco. MacDonald presented the idea to the Santa Fe Railroad and in 1899, the railroad established its western terminus in Point Richmond. The first overland passenger train followed in 1900. In 1901, the Santa Fe moved its shops to Richmond and Standard Oil built its refinery there. The new industrial city, which had been established on a portion of Rancho San Pablo, incorporated in 1905 with its charter being adopted in 1909.
Construction of the shipping port terminals and harbor began soon after the city incorporated. Major dredging and tideland filling was supported by the Ford Motor Assembly Plant and the Felice and Perelli Cannery in 1931. But it was World War II that brought boom times to Richmond: the Kaiser Richmond Shipyard, one of the seven Kaiser west coast shipyards and one of four in the San Francisco area, sprang up on Richmond’s South Shoreline in 1941. The shipyards covered much of the vacant industrial land in the South Shoreline Harbor area, requiring extensive additional tideland filling.
The city’s population burgeoned by almost 50,000 new residents that year, housed in temporary structures and coming from all over the country to work in and around the shipyards. Richmond was home to 56 different war industries, more than any other city of its size in the United States. While many were torn down after the war, being abandoned in the post-war contraction, some of these “temporary” structures are still standing today.
The Kaiser shipyards closed at the end of World War II, but the Kaiser family continued to work in milling and heavy industry, and created Kaiser Permanente in 1945, a managed healthcare system that grew out of a consortium formed to meet workers compensation requirements, was founded for the benefit of the shipyard workers. While not the first HMO, Kaiser Permanente is the largest of its kind today. Henry J. Kaiser also used his wealth to create the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a charitable organization that is a leader in research on health policy and dissemination of health-related communications.
Postwar readjustments were far-reaching in Richmond; the population decreased drastically from 101,500 in 1947 to 71,900 in 1960. New industries moved in to occupy the vacated shipyards, such as aircraft parts manufacturing by Kaiser and a major parts depot for Ford, welding, vegetable oil production, and major warehousing operations. The Richmond Redevelopment Agency was founded in 1947, and its efforts cleared away the temporary residences and provided sites for major warehouses such as Safeway and United Grocers as well as chemical and research facilities. Some older industries moved out in the 1950s: Ford and Pullman. Throughout these transitions, Standard Oil, now called Chevron USA, maintained its holdings in Richmond and is the largest employer in the city, along with Kaiser Permanente.
Richmond’s economy is currently making a major transition from heavy industry toward high tech and light industry, with new business parks accommodating them. Biotechnology in particular has found a niche in Richmond’s economy. The major manufacturers in the current era, Chevron and Zeneca (formerly Stauffer Chemical) have continued to upgrade their Richmond facilities, making major investments.
A visit to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, established in 2000 on the site of Kaiser Shipyard Number Two, would give any visitor an appreciation of the immense scale and impact of the Kaiser Shipyards on West Coast culture and indeed, U.S. history. The park encompasses an array of sites in the city that were built in the 1940s war effort. Foremost is the memorial to honor the “Rosies,” women who made up much of the industrial workforce in the shipyards, at a time and in numbers when such was unheard-of. This home-front war memorial on the waterfront is an abstract sculpture recalling a ships hull overlaid with pictures. The four Richmond shipyards with their combined 27 shipways produced 747 ships, more than any other shipyard complex in the country.
The Ford Motor Company Assembly plant, designed by noted architect Albert Kahn, was the largest assembly plant to be built on the West Coast and is part of the Rosie/Home Front Park. One of only three tank depots in the entire country, approximately 49,000 jeeps were assembled and 91,000 other military vehicles were processed here. The SS Red Oak Victory, one of the ammunition-supply Victory ships built during the war, currently functions as a museum ship within the park. Also within the park, the Atchison Village worker housing project, Kaiser Richmond Field Hospital and Maritime and Ruth Powers Child Development Centers—a wartime day care unit for those Rosies—also tell the story of those wartime workers and their lives and contributions to U.S. victory in World War II.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station. The San Joaquin service is primarily financed through funds made available by the State of California, Department of Transportation, and is managed by the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. The Capitol Corridor route is primarily financed and operated in partnership with the State of California. It is managed by the Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority (CCJPA), which partners with Amtrak, the Union Pacific Railroad, Caltrans and the communities comprising the CCJPA to continue development of a cost-effective, viable and safe intercity passenger rail service.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Elevator Accessible
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Wheelchair Lift