A Star is born: Nashville commuter trains to begin Sept. 18

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville is set to become the 18th North American metropolitan area to be served by commuter trains (vs. light-rail/trolley and/or heavy-rail/subway) with the inaugural run on Monday, Sept. 18, of the Music City Star. Tickets will be available on-line starting next week, and commuters who plan to purchase monthly tickets should act soon to receive them before the service starts.

"We're really excited to get the service out there," project manager Allyson Shumate told the Nashville Tennessean. "I think a lot of people are going to like it."

The Star will run 32 miles between Lebanon, Tenn., and Nashville over the Nashville & Eastern Railroad, a local line which operates 110 miles of former Tennessee Central (later CSX) trackage. Station stops will include Lebanon, Martha, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, Donelson, and Nashville's Riverfront Park Station at the east edge of downtown.

The Star has 11 gallery-style bi-level coaches acquired from Chicago's Metra, including four cab cars to lead in the push-pull operation. The trains will be powered by one of two ex-Amtrak F40 diesels, No. 121 (ex-Amtrak 398) and 122 (399). A third F40, 332, will become Music City 120 and serve as a backup locomotive.

At Riverfront Park, trains will be met by free shuttle buses to take commuters on a downtown loop that includes the bus transfer station and Vanderbilt University. Each Music City Star ticket includes the cost of a connection to MTA buses. For more information, visit www.musiccitystar.com.

The Nashville & Eastern celebrates its 20th Anniversary this year, and the adjacent Tennessee Central Railroad Museum in Nashville will operate two special excursion trains on September 21 to celebrate it. One train will run from Nashville to Watertown and the other from Cookeville to Watertown for the ceremony.
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