By: Samuel Wilson
A new method of public transportation may be coming to Gallatin soon, and your input is needed! WeGo, the public transportation solution for Nashville and surrounding areas, is wanting to expand its rail commuter network.
Currently, WeGo runs a commuter train called The WeGo Star from downtown Nashville to Lebanon making a few stops at populous areas along the way, according to their network map.
WeGo’s original plan was to expand the rail network to major surrounding suburbs including Franklin, Clarksville, Murfreesboro and Gallatin.
Accomplishing this goal will involve jumping a few major hurdles, including getting approval from CSX to use their rail lines, getting approval and investment from the mayor of Nashville, and upgrading all of the current equipment.
This project has been in motion since late 2006.
For a while, it seemed like none of those could be resolved, but the new CEO of CSX and the new mayor of Nashville both seem to have goals that line up with what WeGo wants to achieve.
“There are so many people moving to Nashville that came from a place that had commuter rail that they see the value in us, especially in a fast-growing city. The interest is there, we just need to get past these obstacles,” said Eric Melcher, WeGo’s public information officer. “It has to be the communities. We need them to make the investment, and that takes convincing the taxpayers that it is a worthy investment. We have a study on our website wegotransit.com. You can find the WeGo Star study 2023 under the community tab”.
One of the main advantages of the commuter train is less traffic congestion.
WeGo operates special trains: game days, the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve to take locals downtown for festivities and back.
For some daily commuters, it is their main way to travel to work.
Although COVID-19 caused some loss in ridership, according to this official report, ridership has increased from 2021 to 2022.
Next time you think about going to Nashville, consider giving the Star a try and experience what public transportation by rail is like.