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My soon-to-be home is approximately 75 to 100 feet away from a semi-busy railroad track with trains that carry coal and other cargo. They do not travel very fast but the rumble/horn is still an issue.

Are there ways to help absorb the noise from the tracks that can be done indoors? Outdoors?

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the rumble goes through the ground and into your foundation, very little to do against –  ratchet freak Apr 2 '12 at 18:17
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I know a few people who live very close to railroad tracks. The good news is they're all really good at tuning the noise/vibration out. –  mootinator Apr 2 '12 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

In California for highways and busy streets they build sound walls, which are actually just brick brick walls. They use solid bricks, not hollow bricks, and the walls end up looking like this:

Brick Wall

If you are a good arbitrator or debater, you might even make a good case to have the city, county or state build it for your neighborhood.

Another alternative is to use trees, shrub bushes or anything that can become a hedge in you yard. Even though the old golf saying is trees are 90% air but I've never hit one through a tree. the same words for noise. Hedges and trees will block noise too. Either case make sure you follow your local code on both the block and landscaping. Pull permits where necessary.

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On the getting someone to pay for it -- I remember hearing a story where the local government had some formula they used, and a neighorhood didn't qualify, but they argued that the wall would raise their property values. I think they ended up agreeing to a special taxing district (ie, raising the taxes on their neighborhood) to pay for it. –  Joe Oct 7 '12 at 15:15

I lived about the same distance (maybe a bit more) from train tracks for several years. Most of the trains were commuter trains, with two freight trains daily mixed in. The biggest thing to remember is that you're going to tune them out to a large degree as commented above. The advantage with the mostly commuter train composition of traffic was that they stopped at about 1:00am until 5:30am.

Double paned windows and window coverings were the only physical changes that made a difference. The windows also helped with heating/cooling and energy savings.

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I lived near an airport and it was similarly true. It's probably no consolation now but in a few years you won't even notice the train! ;) –  The Other Steven Apr 3 '12 at 15:11
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Yes, well-installed double-pane windows that close tightly make a lot of difference — at least, made it for me. Some even go for triple-pane windows. –  9000 Apr 3 '12 at 18:15

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