Nashville and Eastern was formed in the 1980s to reestablish freight service from Nashville to Lebanon and points east. The railroad currently extends to Monterey where it serves a large sand mining operation. The railroad provides freight shipping services to more than 30 companies. It also runs occasional passenger excursion trains from Nashville to Cookeville or Watertown in cooperation with the Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville. The tracks that it operates were originally operated by the Tennessee Central Railway, which went out of business in 1968.
The railroad is the home of the new Music City Starcommuter rail service between Nashville and Lebanon. Service began on September 18, 2006. The service is operated by the Regional Transportation Authority, Nashville's public transportation agency.
NERR has a subsidiary, the Nashville & Western Railroad Corp. (reporting markNWR),  that operates between Nashville and Ashland City on the former western end of the Tennessee Central.