Everybody Loves The Sound Of A Train In The Distance: But How Far Is Far Enough?

Everybody Loves The Sound Of A Train In The Distance: But How Far Is Far Enough?

Tess Wilson
Nov 5, 2013

As always, Paul Simon said it best. There is something magical about the sound of a train, at least when it's far enough away. I can romanticize the frequent trains passing through this area, as they're all about 4 miles from my home, but at what point does the sound go from romantic to disruptive?

Though I now live in the perfect spot for Maximum Train Whistle Enjoyment, I have had a little experience with trains that were much too close for comfort..

Freight Train, Colorado I lived in a town in Colorado that had major train tracks running right through the downtown area. I worked in an art gallery/framing store and much of my job involved speaking to customers and vendors on the phone. The calls were constantly interrupted not only by the rumbling of the trains right outside our door, but by the owner's dog who howled along, every single time. I did not envy the people who lived in the apartments upstairs. How would you possibly sleep or even just relax over such a ruckus?

'L' Train, Chicago, #1 About 10 years ago I was a somewhat regular guest at an apartment in Chicago that butted right up against the El train tracks. The guest room was at the back of the place, closest to the tracks, and it felt like a serious earthquake every time a train went past. Perhaps you could get used to it, but I found it nearly panic-inducing.

'L' Train, Chicago, #2 These days, I am a somewhat regular guest at a different Chicago apartment that's also right up against the El tracks...and it's lovely! The sound of the train is faint but soothing, and there is zero shaking of the walls. Is the building sturdier, or are the tracks more stable?

Have you ever lived quite close to train tracks? If so, what was your experience like? Have you ever turned down a home because it was too close to tracks, or were you ever surprised to learn how close you were to tracks, but it was too late?

(Image: April's Guide To Higashi-Kurume, Tokyo)

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