Wednesday, October 7, 2015


In Tennessee's capital, we've come across a city with an existing commuter rail system: the oft-maligned Music City Star. As I built my system out, it seemed that this existing route was laid through one of the less populated rail corridors available, which probably goes to show there's more to making a network than looking where there's existing train tracks.

The station spacing on the Music City Star to Lebanon is far wider than the 1 to 3 miles I typically use. This may be due to the sparser population to the east, or that this (and as we'll see with other upcoming cities with existing heavy rail) is more of a "park-and-ride" system, whereas mine are design to support/encourage walkable communities around the stations.

We now also have an idea as to what rolling stock might be used: a diesel locomotive with a couple of double-deck cars behind.

from Peepersk

This in fact is an incredibly popular decision, it turns out, for isolated commuter rail systems. The Nashville Star, Virginia Railway Express, New Mexico Rail Runner, Minneapolis Northstar, Dallas Trinity, Florida TriRail, Utah Frontrunner, and Seattle Sounder all have something similar. I've always been planning on using diesel, since I don't expect cities to install catenaries. But for the closer-spaced stations, I think DMUs (like Austin or Denmark) would work better.


  • Green: 62.4 miles, 26 stations
  • Purple: 23.4 miles, 13 stations
  • Red: 41.2 miles, 22 stations
  • Yellow: 22.7 miles, 11 stations
  • Music City Star: 31.1 miles, 6 stations

I've tried new pie-chart style icons on the geographic map to better display shared-line stations.

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