How close to railroad tracks?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by cnj_fnr, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. cnj_fnr

    cnj_fnr Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    I think that I might be getting really desparate to get some land. I found a place advertised that is about 1/2 mile from a railroad that is used for hauling coal among other things, and is used several times daily, I do not know about night traffic on it.

    I know that houses can be built to reduce/deflect the sound... but I have to wonder about the vibration and train wrecks... so what do you all think, how close is too close?
     
  2. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

    Messages:
    5,783
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Location:
    North East Texas
    I have lived as close as 2 blocks. You get used to the noise. But, coal trains? Do you know how long those are!! sometimes here, if we get caught on the wrong side of the tracks you can sit for as long as 15 or 20 min waiting on a coal train, even if it is moving at a good pace... That to me is the big draw back, getting across the tracks if you need to. We have to cross to get into town, and it is an extra mile to go around... so that would be the biggy for me.
    Oh, and my brother lives with his back yard right ON tracks, only had one close encounter with a derailment, and the scarry part was the fumes from some chemical. He said they had it cleaned up in less than 24 hours....
    You should probably just hang out there for awhile and see what you think.
     

  3. Big country

    Big country Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    102
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2004
    Location:
    The wild west
    A 1/2 mile away sounds like a dream come true, I live about 200' from the tracks. We only get about 10-12 trains a day. You do get used to them. They really don't bother me much, even as close as I am to the tracks. I wouldn't think you would feel any vibration from them that far away. Can you spend a night camping on the land? That might answer your question.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    As stated, you will become accustomed to the noise and at night it is just a reminder that all is well in the world and things are continuing as per normal. The real short comings is that you will not be able to get a right of way across the tracks unless one already exists. The RR is one ornery group to deal with if you want to cross their Right of way with anything. Personally, I would not let this interfer with my purchase unless the ROW problem exists. I would use the RR as a negative in my negotations regarding adjusting the price downward however. ;)
     
  5. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,277
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    WI
    I live a block away from the railroad tracks. No problem with vibrations, and I usually don't even notice the sound - sort of like regular traffic, becomes part of the background.

    With coal trains you don't have to worry about toxic spills (that'd be my greatest concern).

    As others have asked - will you have to wait on traffic? Is the rail something you'll pass over on a regular basis? Even if it is, you could check and see if the trains run on a predictable schedule and plan accordingly.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  6. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    There is a RR along the back of our property, about 600 feet from the house. The only time I ever notice that a train is there is when one stops & the cars clank together. It's not very noisy because there aren't any crossings nearby, so they don't blow the horn.
    When I was growing up, we lived close to the tracks near a crossing. The horn drowned out the TV if the windows were open, but it never bothered us much except for that.
     
  7. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    We have a RR track about 1/8 mile away. No problem at all.

    Duke
     
  8. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,261
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    North of Omaha, on the banks of the 'Muddy Mo'
    When I was about 12, we lived a stones throw away from 3 sets of tracks. Literally a stones throw, I could stand on the back deck and hit the trains with rocks if I wanted to. The first 1 or 2 months really sucked due to the noise. Trains came thru at all hours of the nite. After we got used to the noise we didn't hear it anymore. The noise just faded into the background and disappeared. If this land is what you want, I wouldn't let train tracks hold you back. Good luck.

    Peace,
    Curtis AKA ChickenChaser
     
  9. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    I'm a little more than 1/2 a mile from the train tracks and the tracks are used mainly for hauling coal to the nearby powerplant. I am on the other side of a river from the train and can feel the vibrations from the train in the ground. I don't mind it and like the whistle in the distance.
     
  10. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,961
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    We live about 150 ft from the train tracks. I used to love trains and wanted to live near the tracks, but no more. You do get used to the noise, but I lost 3 of my poodles who decided to play chicken with the train and lost. When the train went by, you could forget hearing the tv or who was on the phone. Sometimes the train would stop on the tracks for 20-30 minutes. We had to go 7 miles out of the way to get around it. We did get some great flattened pennies though. The girls would put them on the tracks and collect them after the train passed by, then sell them to town kids for a dollar. They made quite a bit of money that way.
     
  11. blazingguns

    blazingguns Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    288
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    When I lived in Colorado, we had a train across from us, only a small two lane dirt road, the train we got used to, we would get as many as 20 trains going by all day and night, mostly coal and amtrak trains, but the only thing we did not get used to, was there was a crossing just down the road, and when those trains hit their horns, it was LOUD!!!!!! Took my horses months to get used to that!!!!!
     
  12. Ozarks_1

    Ozarks_1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    250
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Ark. Ozark Mtns. (Marion County)
    Got a railroad track about 150 yards from the front door, just an the other side of the road. The crossing's about 50 yards to the east. They run coal trains a maybe four times a day (3-4 engines and about 125 cars) and a local freight once in a while. (Got one we call "the Midnight Special"; another called "the Sunrise Special". The others generally run during the day. Between midnight and sunrise, it's rare for them to run a train through here.)
    The noise isn't all that great - unless you're outside trying to talk when they blow their horn. Then, you might as well forget it for a couple minutes. The dogs "sing along" when the they blow the horn.

    Vibration: We don't have a problem, but one of the neighbors has a propane stove (old, worn-out, should be replaced) ... after a couple days, the vibrations will open up the gas valves on his stove.

    Train wrecks: They keep the tracks in good condition. If I feel like walking the mile to town, I walk the tracks ... inspecting as I go.
     
  13. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    865
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Location:
    South Central, Mo
    When I was young and got my first house the RR tracks were about 100 feet from our bedroom window. It was on a rural road and there was a split off track so they could unhook a few cars when needed. The train mainly carried logs to the mill up on the mountain and milled wood back down. It went by about 20 times a day. My girlfriend and I made friend with the men on the train took them hot coffee when it was cold and hot muffens. They were all about our fathers age and were very polite to us. They would always toot that train horn when going by and not stoping. One day we got a hard knock on the door and one of the engineers said the boss is not with us today you want to take a ride :) we grabed our coat and took off with them. We were gone half the day but got to ride in the engin ( so much fun) and see what all there job intailed. They would go up to the mill and unload logs and then load lumber and then down the mountain we would go. There are sure alot of people that live alog the tracks that make friends with the men that run the train. One house off in the distance was waving a bright orange flag off the front pourch at them. One of the men said he went out there one day to met the people on his day off. He said it was a older widowed women whos kids would visit on the weekend but was alone during the week and they were her only company. He said after that even if she didn't make it to the pourch he would toot the wistel for her :)Found out they were like a bunch of little boys. The all had businessed in the big town by us. One had a coin shop and one had a insurance business. I can't remember what the other one did but they all had dreams when little boys about being a engineir LOL.. The place we have now you can hear the train in the distance (far distance) but it sure brings back fond memories.
     
  14. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    We're about 1/2 from a track, with woods between us. Our old farmhouse shuts out the whistle pretty well, but I love to hear it in the distance when I'm outside. It's just right...far enough away to not irritate, and close enough to us to get that 'lonesome whistle'.

    Meg
     
  15. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    989
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Well...I live a little further than a stone's throw away but still too close for my taste. I'm 2 houses away. My kids hate the noise, they were brought into this house as newborns and they still hate it 5 yrs later. Noise aside I love to watch the trains and wave at the conductors. My house is a 1950's 1 story and it shakes the house pretty hard, to the point of vibrating open unlocked windows. (I would imagine a better built house with new windows would solve this problem.) You do get used to it, like most posters have said. Maybe a coal train wouldnt be as loud, without crossings and hearing that awful horn at 2am. I *think* they legally have to blow them at the crossings, so we can hear the horn starting 2 towns away. You really should think about spending time close by to see for yourself.
     
  16. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    227
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Reading these posts remind me of the story my granny use to tell about my mom. Back in the '50s dad got stationed at Homestead AFB and soon after mom went down to live on base with him. The first week mom sent granny a letter telling her how she just couldn't take the noise of the jet bombers flying over all the time. Guess they lived right at the end of one of the runways. About a year later granny went down to visit after my older sister was born. As she sat in the living room talking to mom and dad a flight of bombers began taking off, and granny said she felt like her ear were going to fall off. Then she turned to my mom and yelled at her "Mary I see what you mean about those planes!" Then,as granny told it, my mom turned to her, and with a completely straight face said "What Planes?" Just goes to show some folk can get use to just about anything.

    Duke
     
  17. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,780
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    Location:
    western PA
    Well, I have to disagree that "you get used to it"

    I never did & am glad to be away from the train tracks now -

    The whistle becomes UNcharming very quickly
    Do you want to sleep through the night? Forget it
    Do you want to talk on the phone with a window open? Forget it

    Next to a train track that's used frequently is no way to live

    Oh, I meant to add that my daughter was about 2 when we left that house & is still terrified of trains that she hears in the far, far distance - she just can't stand the sound (she's 4 now)
     
  18. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    510
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    SE PA, zone 6b
    For years my family used to stay at the Rainbow Resort in East Hope, Idaho. The Amtrak passed right across the road 4-5 times a 24 hr day. The first night we stayed, we heard every train. After that, slept like babies. It is one of the most peaceful places we'd been. Some of my family have bought property in the area. We loved counting the freight cars carrying commerce from Seattle to the rest of the country.

    If it's nice property otherwise, go ahead and get it. Or, better, hang around at different hours and see how you feel. Sometimes you cannot always spend the time it takes to hang around.
     
  19. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,782
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    South of DFW,TX zone 8a
    A friend of mine lives about 1/4 mile from tracks in town. Coal trains or other trains come through about hourly. Track problem the other day and no trains. They made up for it a few days later with what he says seemed like a train every 15 minutes. There is a free trade zone across the road from his house and constant switching. Enough trees to pretty well screen the view but doesn't block the noise. His problem is he works rotating shifts and sometimes has trouble sleepiing.
     
  20. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    932
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Location:
    South West MI
    You get used to them but if your on a curve the screeching of the flanges can get real loud. I work on trains every weekend so I'm kind of partial I guess.

    My website

    www.hesstonvolunteers.com

    Still and allways under construction

    mikell