This time in my series "Profiles in Transit" I talk about my recent trip to Nashville, Tennessee. In this series, I reflect on transit systems around the country that I've ridden, focusing on interesting elements.
Nashville is only a few hours drive from my parents' home near Atlanta where I've spent the holidays this year. So yesterday, my father and I set out on a day trip to the Music City. The weather did not cooperate with us, but I was able to achieve the main goal of the trip: to ride my 10th American commuter rail system, Nashville's Music City Star.
The train pulls in to Lebanon
The Music City Star opened in 2006 to demonstrate the feasibility of commuter rail in Midstate Tennessee. So far, only one line operates, but there are plans to expand the system. At present, the single-line system has 6 stations on a 32 mile route running from Downtown Nashville east to Lebanon, a suburb along the I-40 East corridor. Trains operate only during peak periods, but do operate in a bidirectional service pattern, allowing commuters to travel either from suburb to central city or central city to suburb.
Riverfront Station in downtown
I made one round trip on the Star:
- Lebanon->Riverfront (Downtown)
The system is the only commuter rail system in the Deep South at the moment and I think it shows the potential for these sunbelt cities. The Star was constructed relatively cheaply. At just $41 million it shows that transit can be done on a budget. Stops are simple, but adequate. The service was on-time, and my peak direction train was at least 80% full despite the rain.
The Star at Riverfront
Nashville seems to be offering a great example to other southern cities of how to get commuter rail started in their communities. So, if you find yourself in the Music City, give the Star a try!