As I write this the train whistle for Nashville's first commuter rail system is sounding as it approaches the crossing less than a mile from our house. It is a happy sound. This morning is the official launch of the new rail system, which, if successful, will be joined in time by six other rail links from surrounding communities into downtown Nashville. The Music City Star, as it is called, has been making practice runs for the last several months (for some reason I think that's cute), so the whistle has been a regular occurrence of late.
As firm believers in mass transit, we really want this to be a success. I worry a little that the stations don't offer enough hospitality. The platform shelters are minimal, and though they might protect you from getting your head wet in the event of rain, there is no comfort from heat, humidity, cold or wind. Ummm, do they think everyone will wait in their car for the train to come? We're actually a terminus, so perhaps the thought is that the train will be there ready to board until departure time, but what about the other stops along the way? We'll see.
I'm happy to see there is community support for the rail, but I also wonder if the potential exists to be an effective means of commuting. There is one downtown station, on Nashville's riverfront, and though there are shuttles to other areas, the downtown area isn't exactly teeming with employees who live along the route. We'll see. I had actually hoped to take the train myself today, since I need to be downtown at mid-day, but there are only two morning and two afternoon runs to downtown on the schedule. Oh well. Perhaps in time. In the meantime, I'm just happy to hear the whistle.