Living near a railway station gives you convenient access to public transit, but the constant noise can be a downside. There are steps you can take to reduce noise and make the proximity of a railway station more bearable.
There are different methods you can use to reduce noise coming from a nearby railway station:
- Block soundwaves before they reach your home using a fence
- Provide proper insulation inside your home
- Limit the amount of vibrating objects in your home if you’re close to the railway station
Here is what you need to know about using these different methods to reduce noise, and some additional tips for dealing with noise and vibrations from a nearby railway station.
How Well Do Outdoor Barriers Work?
Railway stations are noisy places. An idling locomotive has an average noise rating of 70dB, which is comparable to the noise coming from a car going by at 70 mph. A locomotive horn is even louder at 95 to 110 dB, a noise level comparable to the siren of a fire truck.
If you have a house, you can effectively reduce noise by adding barriers that will stop sound waves from reaching you. It’s an approach that makes your backyard more comfortable since you won’t have to worry about excessive noise levels when you relax outside.
Soundproof fences are the best type of outdoor barriers against noises. They’re easy to install since you can attach them to an existing fence or wall. You can purchase rolls or panels for a customized installation.
Soundproof fences use a special material that absorbs sound waves. The thickness of the barrier determines its efficiency.
Targeting the wall or fence between your home and the railway station will block a lot of the sound waves and make a significant difference. There are other benefits of soundproofing your yard with a special fence, including insulating yourself from noises coming from your neighbors, and increasing your privacy since noises coming from your yard won’t reach your neighbors.[Related Article: How To Build A Soundproof Fence At Home Step By Step]
Can You Soundproof Your Home With Drapes and Curtains?
A soundproof fence won’t completely stop noises from reaching your home. If you live in an apartment, installing a soundproof fence won’t be an option.
You can reduce noises coming from a nearby railway station by soundproofing the inside of your home with special drapes and curtains.
These thick drapes and curtains work by absorbing sound waves. They will muffle noises coming from the outside, and prevent noises from echoing inside your home. Installing drapes or curtains is easy. You can use them to cover your windows since it’s a common entry point for noises from the outside, or simply cover the wall that is closest to the railway station.
Soundproof drapes and curtains are a flexible solution since you can open or close them as needed. The downside is that drawing your soundproof curtains will darken your home and reduce exposure to sunlight, but they’re still a viable option for reducing noises at night.
The other benefit of soundproof drapes and curtains is that they’re thick enough to improve insulation in your home. Besides reducing outside noises, these products will reduce your heating bills in the winter.
Are There Any Additional Steps You Can Take to Soundproof Your Home?
If you live in an apartment above some train tracks, sound waves will travel up to your home. Covering walls and windows with soundproof drapes isn’t going to catch the waves that travel upward.
You can add a thick area rug to absorb these sound waves. You will get the added benefit of muffling your own footsteps and creating a layer of noise insulation between yourself and your downstairs neighbors.
Another way of soundproofing your home is to install a bookshelf against the wall that is closest to the railway station. Books have excellent sound-absorbing properties since it’s difficult for sound waves to travel through several layers of paper.
Using a bookshelf to soundproof your home is inexpensive if you already have a book collection, and it’s an ideal solution if you rent your home and don’t want to make any permanent modifications.
What Are Some Common Myths About Soundproofing Your Home?
You might find some articles that recommend installing acoustic wall panels. The truth is that these wall panels can improve sound quality if you have a home theater system and reduce issues linked to echo and sound bouncing off walls. Check out our article on how to soundproof Ceiling Speakers At Home here.
However, acoustic wall panels won’t prevent noises from entering your home. Installing acoustic wall panels won’t reduce noises coming in from the outside, but it can make a difference if some of the noise problems you experience are linked to sound waves echoing in your home.
You will also find sources that recommend using pillows and furniture made from soft materials to soundproof your home. This technique can reduce echoing since sound waves will have fewer hard surfaces to bounce off. However, soft pillows and furniture won’t prevent noise from entering your home.
You can use acoustic wall panels or soft items to reduce echoing if you have a lot of empty space or high ceilings in your home, but you should invest in another soundproofing technique to reduce the amount of noise that enters your home.
What Is the Most Affordable Way of Reducing Noises from a Railway Station?
The easiest and most affordable way of reducing outside noises is to look for any small cracks that could be letting sounds in.
Adding a layer of caulk to the exterior siding of your windows should make a difference. You can use caulk to seal air vents and any other openings.
Sealing these cracks will improve your insulation to outside noises, and will also prevent cold air from entering your home.
It won’t completely stop noises from a nearby railway station to reach you, but it’s an inexpensive way of reducing noise exposure. You will notice a difference, especially if you live in an old home.
Can Double-Panel Windows Make a Difference?
Your windows can let in a lot of outside noises if they are too thin or have poor insulation. Another common issue is that windows can rattle and cause even more noise in your home when a train arrives or departs.
Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane glass won’t be sufficient if you want to reduce noise exposure. You might notice a slight difference, but double-pane windows won’t block noises from trains. It’s a home improvement project that is still worth considering since you will see a difference with your energy bills.
You can prevent noises from coming in through the windows by using insulation tape or foam. Apply these materials where the window pane meets the sill to improve insulation and keep noises out.
Another thing you can do is upgrade your windows and invest in soundproof windows. These windows have thick layers of glass and feature air space between two window panes. The presence of this air space reduces sound propagation and eliminates a lot of outside noises.
Soundproof windows work best for keeping sounds with higher frequencies out. They should make a difference when it comes to train horns, but you will probably still hear locomotives idling and trains going by.
Investing in soundproofing windows is worth it if you have old windows that let a lot of sounds in, but you should consider combining this solution with other methods like soundproof curtains.
What Is the Best Way of Dealing with Rattling and Vibrations?
If you live near train tracks, vibrations can cause additional noise in your home. It’s difficult to control since the ground carries these vibrations, and you can’t stop them from reaching your home.
Here are a few solutions to explore:
- Use caulk to stabilize windows.
- Think about replacing old window frames with a newer frame that will deliver a better fit.
- Remove trinkets that could rattle on shelves.
- Avoid attaching shelves to the walls that are closest to the railway station.
- Use braces to secure large appliances and reduce rattling.
- Install non-slip furniture pads to stabilize furniture and appliances and reduce noise. Thick pads can even absorb some of the vibrations coming from the ground.
- Rattling doors can make a lot of noise. It’s an issue you can address with door stops.
What Can You Do to Reduce Exposure to Noises?
There are steps you can take to insulate your home from noises, but it’s difficult to block out all noises coming from a train station.
A majority of residents who live near train tracks say the noise makes them irritable and causes headaches or insomnia. For 88% of them, things get worse at night.
It’s important to give yourself a break from the noise to improve focus, get a good night’s sleep, or prevent headaches. Here are some products you can use:
- Earplugs are an inexpensive solution. The downside is that they can cause irritation and won’t block all noises.
- Earmuffs will block more noises. They’re ideal if you need a quiet environment to focus, but they’re not comfortable enough for you to sleep with them.
- Noise-canceling headphones are more expensive, but they use active noise cancellation technology. These headphones emit sound waves that cancel out outside noises to create a quiet environment. You can find small earphones that you can wear at night to cover up loud outside noises.
Are There Additional Steps You Can Take to Deal with Noises from a Railway Stations?
Getting used to living next to a train station can be hard at first. However, you will eventually get used to the noise and might not notice it on a conscious level after a while.
You can deal with the annoyance by paying attention to the schedule of the train station and avoiding important phone calls or activities that require you to focus when you know there will be a lot of noises.
It’s important to recognize when the noise gets too much and to take breaks. If you don’t have earmuffs or noise-canceling headphones, go to a local library for a few hours of peace and quiet.
Distractions like music, nature sounds, or a white noise machine can help drown out train noises. If the noise level makes it difficult to go to sleep, try adopting a bedtime routine that helps you relax and focus on something else.
Lastly, you can reach out to local authorities about the noise. It’s possible to install vibration absorbers near train rails, use rail spacing techniques that reduce noise, or use new solutions like steel wool mats that absorb noise.