Living Near Train Tracks

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  • Living near train crossing?

    (6 replies)

    I'm trying to find a condo to buy. West Oakland, East Oakland, and Richmond are what's in the budget. I found a place just south of Emeryville (Clawson) that seems great, but it's about a block and a half from a railroad crossing. The condo has double pane windows and the realtor has sold another unit there and that owner says they don't hear it. However, I am a light sleeper. White noise doesn't bother me and day time crossings would be okay, but I am concerned about the horn honking at the crossing at night. My well-meaning parents are like, "You'll get used to it if you can hear it!" but I'm very nervous about the idea of gambling a half million hoping I'll get used to it if I can hear it. 

    I can't find any train schedules (freight) so not sure how to actually test it out. I would be very curious if anyone lives near a train crossing in West Oakland, Emeryville, West Berk, etc and can report back! TIA! 

    We live on 6th St in Berkeley.  Approx 3 or 4 blocks from the train. It's loud but we are totally used to it. We know people who live on MLK and the street noise is louder so I wouldn't assume that the train is the only noise that can disturb you. I think some earplugs might help you transition until you're used to the noise. Maybe rent an airbnb or get a hotel for a few days near the train  to test it out. Doesn't need to be in the exact neighborhood you're looking at. Anywhere near the train in Berkeley/ Oakland will work. They honk the horn through all the urban areas. 

    I live in W Berkeley and do hear the freight trains at night. Usually there’s one a night. I wake briefly, then go back to sleep. 

    I live in West Berkeley - the train horns blow at all hours. The first couple nights in our new house, I thought we'd made a terrible mistake, but after that I started sleeping through them. If you fear you wouldn't, it might not be a good spot. They are loud, and while not frequent, can be all hours. 

    I once stayed in Emeryville at Avenue64 apartment for a couple months and the train was so loud (despite double pane windows) that conversations had to stop and wait for the train to pass. I later moved to an apartment that's about 1 mile away from the track in Berkeley, it's slightly better, but definitely still hear it. 

    During my apartment hunting days, I found an unlikely place to learn about the train noise: Yelp and Google reviews. Read up on people's review on those rental apartment buildings near where your building is and see if they mention any train noise. I found a few places with reviews that mention deafening train passing while the rental office claimed everything is under control. 

    Good luck! 

    I spent over a decade living in a condo right above the train tracks in Jack London Square, just next to a train crossing. I can tell you that a block and a half actually makes a big difference in terms of noise level, especially with solid windows. Our friends who lived that distance from "our" railroad crossing had much quieter apartments than ours. You're right that the horn honking is LOUD, and the freight trains are much louder than Amtrak. The freight trains are also the ones that run throughout the night, whereas Amtrak takes a break during the night. The clanging of the crossing gate can also be obnoxious. 

    All that said, I found that you really do get used to it and you learn to sleep through it. I think the more challenging times were when I was trying to do something like be on a conference call or watch TV and the train would blast its horn right when I was trying to hear or say something. But again, I think if you're farther away it will be much less intrusive. 

    I lived in alameda and woke up around 3am every night for years. Across the channel there are two cement factories in Oakland. Freight trains stopped there to drop off aggregate. But no one else in my family woke. I think it really depends on if you are a light sleeper.