Rail commute near townhouse

I recently returned from a trip to San Diego to check out properties there. One of the townhouse I looked at was near a rail commuter service that was under construction. I have no way of knowing the noise level I should expect if I should by this home. I emailed the rail authority and they told me the environmental impact report said in that area the noise level could be 53 to 57 deciibels, which means nothing to me.

I did an internet search and it told me that a refrigerator is about 50 decibels and an air conditioner is about 60. The problems is both refrigerators and air conditioner very widely in the noise they make. The townhouse is about a block from the commuter line. What do you think?

Geez, hard to make a call on something this expensive before it is built. The last thing I would go by is some environmental impact report (Millennium Tower, comes to mind for some reason).

There will be noise. You can easily hear SJ light rail inside a block away. I bet Caltrain would be really loud inside from a block away.

Caltrain is supposed to go electric some day…so that should help

you also need to understand where the grade crossings are. The FRA allows train horn to be at 110 decibels. I the house is well constructed then you can do a staggered stud costruction to create a Acoustic decoupling and then buy Milgard Quiteline series windows which has STC of about 46. If such remodelling is not an option then you can simply strip of the sheatrock and use quitrock increaisng the STC of your walls and change the windows.

Did you knock on doors and asked neighbors about the noise?

I believe it correlates to the same airport noise here in San Jose. Eventually you forget about the noise, you get used to it.

True!. I grew up with freight rail line under our windows and this was not a problem at all. I could not fall asleep if it was too quiet.

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The rail line is still under construction so I can’t ask the neighbors. It is scheduled to open next year.

Will the line have freight trains running in the middle of the night? That is the big question. I would not worry about commuter trains if they mostly run in the morning and evenings.

Then, the only solution, if you liked the place, would be to find out if the condo has good triple pane or double pane windows. :stuck_out_tongue:

@druid, no, commuter trains only. @buyinghouse, they are all constructed in the last 15 years so double paned windows are standard.

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How are the rents for the area? Assuming rents in a worst case scenario go down some (from noise), would you still be ahead or cash flow positive/neutral? Obviously if situation turns out to be quite fine, more gravy…


Since I believe this is your last stop when it comes to real estate, pick the best for you and your wife. No stairs, you ain’t getting younger.