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How to Soundproof Your House from Train Noise
If you live anywhere near a set of train tracks, chances are you’re all too familiar with the screaming blare of a train’s whistle. Reducing train noise may be difficult, unless you plan on moving, soundproofing your house is the best option to reduce the noise disturbance. This will allow you to block Train Horns & Whistle Noises altogether.
It may seem like these horns and whistles were designed to test the sanity of all within hearing distance, however they are in fact used as a safety precaution. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) actually requires all trains to sound their horns as a warning to oncoming traffic and pedestrians 15-20 seconds before entering a public highway-rail grade crossing. If the train is moving at a speed greater than 60 mph, the conductor is required to begin sounding the horn when the train is a full quarter mile away from the crossing.
To ensure the whistle is audible to all individuals in the surrounding area, it sounds at a minimum of 90 decibels and can reach up to 110 decibels, much louder than any other common city noise. A distinct pattern of 2 long blows, 1 short blow and then another long blow is used to distinguish the train’s horn from any other noise.
With that being said, there are ways to block the sound of train horns, whistles and noises from entering into your home.
Quiet Zones from Train Horn Noise
If you’re fed up with the constant train whistling, you may be able to go straight to the source. Some areas are eligible to become Quiet Zones by request, where horn restrictions can be put in place to reduce train noise near residential and commercial areas.
Quiet Zone qualification is only available in locations where there have been no ‘relevant collisions.’ In order to be considered, citizens must prove that the noise is having detrimental effects on the community. Applicants must also take action to improve train safety through other means such as putting up additional crossing signs and arms, or holding local education programs, informing drivers of the potential danger.
Successful “Quiet Zones” Near a Loud Train
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners in Powder Springs recently approved a Quiet Zone in the center of town. The town installed new safety equipment and updated sensors as alternative safety precautions.
In Illinois, 64% of people live within a mile of railroad crossings. It comes as no surprise that the state has seen a dramatic rise in public support for Quiet Zones, and the zones have begun to appear all over the state.
Are you interested in turning your area into a Quiet Zone?
Soundproofing Tips for Reducing Train Noise
Becoming an approved Quiet Zone requires a large community effort, which is not always feasible. For individuals who are unable to achieve the qualifications required for Quiet Zone consideration, soundproofing is the solution.
The sound of a train’s horn, and it’s wheels squeaking on the tracks are typically a high-frequency sounds, meaning they have a shorter wavelength. High-frequency noises are easier to block than their low-frequency counterparts. The easiest ways to reduce these noises is by installing sound blocking products at the source of entry into your home.
- Soundproof curtains are one of the easiest ways to combat train noise. These curtains are able to create a transmission loss of 35 decibels at high frequencies, making them the ideal defense against train noise. In residential areas, the majority of decibels caused by disturbing noise come in through the windows, so these curtains should be your first solution.
- You can also abate noise by creating outdoor barriers. By building a fence around your yard you can diminish sound waves before they get to the walls of your house. You can further reduce sound waves by adding an outdoor sound blocking barrier row of shrubs or bushes in front of your home.
- Check your exterior doors, as well as any outlets and openings. High-frequency train noise can transfer through any small crack or hole in your exterior walls. You might consider re-caulking your baseboards and window sills, or installing door sweeps and new gaskets to exterior doors. A decorative Soundproofing Blanket can also be installed over a door to prevent sound leaks.
Train noise can prevent you from conducting focused activities and can even hinder your ability to sleep through the night. Stop train noise in its tracks (pun intended) by taking advantage of soundproofing solutions and talking to your city officials about becoming a Quiet Zone.
Have more soundproofing questions about reducing train noise in your town/home? Leave them in the comments below!