Would you buy a house backing on to a railway line?

(80 Posts)
cordiality Sun 06-Oct-13 10:58:39

We are currently looking to buy our 'forever house'. There is an area of north London that I really like, can just about afford, and have seen a house that could work. However, the garden is north facing and there is a reasonably busy railway like at the bottom of it.

I believe that there are a couple of freight trains per day, and lots of commuter trains (it's the silver link line).

Would this be a deal breaker for you? Is it hideous in summer? I just can't make a decision on this one, and I doubt the vendors would be keen for me to spend the night there just in case!

YDdraigGoch Sun 06-Oct-13 11:02:15

If you love the house, go for or. You'll get used to the trains and won't notice them after a while.

MousyMouse Sun 06-Oct-13 11:04:38

yes I would (and have).
have a good listen. nearer a station might be quieter (as trains run slowly), also look out/listen it the tracks split (loud rattatattat noise) or there is a curve (screeching noise). is the garden long? double glazing? have a look at cracks inside the house (from the vibrations).

we like: not having neighbours at the back, a long garden (for the area), a bigger house (compared to the other side of the street).

bamboobutton Sun 06-Oct-13 11:11:40

we lived near a busy train line, not backing on to it but about 30meters away.

you do get used to the noise. I even liked hearing the freight trains late at night and liked the screeching too, it was soothing and I enjoyed imagining who was on the train and where they were going.

specialsubject Sun 06-Oct-13 11:14:38

check on whether you can sit in the garden without being exposed to the gaze of all the passengers.

If it is a long garden and the house isn't shaking from the noise, not too much of a problem. If the garden never gets any sun, that might be more of an issue.

also is the station in earshot? The repeated announcements can drive you rapidly barmy.

Ezza1 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:16:20

I definitely would! I love trains <anorak> and would love to live by a track - by the seaside preferably.


Bowlersarm Sun 06-Oct-13 11:16:49

I think I would. I would prefer train noise to traffic noise.

Is the railway line the same level as the garden, or raised?

Preciousbane Sun 06-Oct-13 11:17:16

We are about to have a look at a house that has a railway line running along the side of it but well screened by mature trees.

I have lived with a railway line at the bottom of the garden and it was fine but was a quiet line and the railway drivers used to wave to us.

Rather a railway line than a busy road.

I would, but I love trains.

Beccadugs Sun 06-Oct-13 11:20:45

We back onto the Gatwick express line, it is not a problem at all. The trains go by at speed so no one peers in despite it being higher than our garden. You honestly don't notice it after a while.

trixymalixy Sun 06-Oct-13 11:22:27

Yes, I would and I did. You really don't notice the train noise after a while. I'd much rather back onto a train line than a busy road.

Theas18 Sun 06-Oct-13 11:23:07

Absolutely check if you are overlooked our even if the trains have a view into your bedrooms...in suburban London I'm surprised how much is at bedroom level!

Noise meh, you get used to ity or can triple glaze(I know and old couple in sheltered housing that is practically on the railway-you park your car next to the wire, but its a new build and insulated/triple glazed and silent inside.

Make sure the price is sufficiently lowered for the railway. My in laws live 6 large detached plots away from the railway (side ways on) and recently sold their amazing"forever family home" to downsize and took a significant hit for this, which I think surprised them add it doesn't bother them or visiting family at all.

Maybe get a proper structural survey too.

In summary yes I would but is try to do it with my eyes open. I assume lots of house in London/south London are in this situation though

Floggingmolly Sun 06-Oct-13 11:24:03

I did. It didn't bother us at all, but proved an absolute bugger to sell. A lot of people do seem to have an issue with it; but if it's your forever home go right ahead, it'll be fine.

TakingTheStairs Sun 06-Oct-13 11:29:16

I used to live in a house share with a train line at the bottom of the garden. The noise of trains didn't bother me at all but what I really hated was when there were works on the tracks. They were always done at night for understandable reasons but the work men were SO loud. They'd shout to each other with no consideration for residents at 2am and as it was quiet otherwise the noise used to really travel. I was woken with a start at least once convinced there was someone in our garden as they sounded so loud and close. They obviously weren't in our garden but it used to give me such a fright!

TallulahBetty Sun 06-Oct-13 11:34:17

I would and I have! My top tip is, once a week, pushing ornaments/anything on shelves right back, as the vibrations (however subtle/unfelt) will eventually bring them to the front grin

clam Sun 06-Oct-13 11:38:05

Isn't the Silverlink line in North London also the main line to the North? Meaning you'll also be getting high-speed Virgin trains zooming past? I used to live further along that line and, as others have said, got used to it very quickly (better than the constant noise of a busy road), but I didn't like gardening up the top end near the fence as those high-speed trains gave me a jump every time!

We live near a busy railway line.
I love the sound of the trains and find the sound of it really soothing. When we go away on holiday DS complains that he can't get to sleep without the sound of the trains grin

morethanpotatoprints Sun 06-Oct-13 11:41:25

We had a railway cottage when first starting out.
When we moved it was amazing how many people were surprised by the proximity to railway. "The clues in the address" grin

It was very old 1851 and the walls about 3 bricks thick.
A developer bought land next to us and when the builders were working on the new houses they had to come down to the ground as the shaking made it too dangerous to work, when a train was going through.
Newer houses are a night mare and we wouldn't have bought one of those.
If it is your forever house definitely you are ok, but if you think you may want to sell at some point, it can be difficult and took us a long time.

Helpyourself Sun 06-Oct-13 11:44:10

Came along to say I would. Then I remembered I did, very happily for 10 years! I never think of the noise when I remember that house.

cordiality Sun 06-Oct-13 12:04:23

Wow, this is incredibly helpful, thank you. The house is higher than the line, so you look down on the train, definitely no one peering in at me in my nightie! Also the line curves away at that point as it comes into the station, so it's a bit further away than it is from the houses further down the road. Yes, it's really near the station, but I hope not near enough to be able to hear announcements!

It's not on a northbound branch of the silver link, just little stations east to west.

The resale point worries me. This house has been on the market quite a while, v unrealistically priced at first, but maybe this is the issue now. It does worry me because my kids are only tiny, who knows what tomorrow may bring, I really don't know that forever will be forever!

Dh used to have a flat backing onto a train line in North London, and I stayed there quite a bit - and I definitely found I was tuning out the trains, even the freight trains.

Plus your children might enjoy watching the trains go past - all of my dses were little train maniacs, and would have spent every waking hour watching the trains, if we'd had a house backing onto a railway line like that.

Mildpanic Sun 06-Oct-13 12:16:21

We are about 3 gardens at the back away from the main East Coast London to Glasgow/Edinburgh line. I also find it quite soothing to hear the trains and catcha a glimpse as they whizz by. It is a straight bit of line so I think that makes a difference. We don't get disturbed by the train noise at all, we are really very used to it. The freight trains through the night are nice to hear if I can't sleep.
The deal breaker for me would be a north facing garden, much prefer a south facing. I would also be very concerned about resale value, which obviously isn't an issue if it is your forever home.
Friends have bought close to railway lines and have all got much more for their money so definitely worth proper consideration.

southeastastra Sun 06-Oct-13 12:17:43

i used to live right near a sidings yard and the flat literally shook everytime a train went in. would not do it again!

dyslexicdespot Sun 06-Oct-13 12:19:40

I would and DS would be over the moon if he could see and hear trains all day long.

littleoaktree Sun 06-Oct-13 12:30:05

We back on to a railway line in SE London which is lower than the house, line is in a cutting. In the summer we can't really see the trains because of the trees in the cutting so it looks and feels like we back onto woodland which is quite nice. The noise of the trains can be a bit annoying but tbh no worse than the planes (even though they're not that low here). I'd buy another house that backs on to a railway line because you can usually get a bit more house for your money and I love being only a few mins from the station for getting around.

What I wouldn't like is a train that's literally right at the bottom of the garden or one that goes higher than the garden - we looked at a few houses like that and discounted them because of the trains.

I live right next to a small branch line station in West London. The noise is not an issue, apart from the odd night works (three times in eight years).

We even get the odd steam train go past on Sundays grin

And the bonus is I can get into Paddington in twenty minutes.

I'd love the sound of trains. My DS calls freight trains, plane trains, they sound great. Traffic on the other hand? No way.

Putthechocolatedownandbackaway Sun 06-Oct-13 13:35:26

My flat is about 50 yards from a busy commuter railway (will be adding Crossrail whenever they decide to open it). I have tuned out the noise completely and sometimes have to open a window and actively listen in a morning to check they're running !

The station announcements, as mentioned upthread might be a bigger problem. I'd suggest going to the house when the trains start in the morning, if you can bear it, and check how loud the tannoy is

DownstairsMixUp Sun 06-Oct-13 13:37:41

I think you should to! I grew up with the district line running behind my house (so you can imagine how frequent it was!) plus the essex line that run along side it and it was never an issue smile

janx Sun 06-Oct-13 14:12:46

If its the gospel oak to barking line you will be fine or even Richmond to Stratford.... I know my north London lineswink
The only down point is when there is work on night time!

cordiality Sun 06-Oct-13 17:40:01

I'll definitely go there when it's quiet and check for announcements. Might also try to do some investigation as to how often they do engineering work.

Yes Janx, it is one of those lines! On the other side of the railway line is an amazing park and playground and it would be perfect for my lot.

No idea if there's a saving because of the line or not, houses don't sell very often on the road and they're all varying sizes.

Anyway, I feel much better about the trains now, thank you. Am now worrying about the north facing garden!!!

BoundandRebound Sun 06-Oct-13 19:14:29

No I wouldn't

Too noisy

impecuniousmarmoset Sun 06-Oct-13 19:17:42

I would, and I do! You really don't hear the trains after a while. I wouldn't live near a busy road, but trains are different somehow, because the noise isn't constant. Even the nighttime freight trains, if I happen to be awake and listening, are quite comforting! This is our forever house, too.

mittens0101 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:01:21

Our house backs on to a railway line and it really doesn't bother us. The train line is at the end of our 70ft garden and is hidden behind bushes and a brick wall and we can only see the tops of any trains going past. Our DC loves watching them go by and we don't really notice them anymore. We live close to the station though so the trains are never going particularly fast and don't make much noise - it also means that it's a really quick walk to the station.

I don't think that it should be a deal breaker but I wouldn't want to live right on top of a train line. In a simlar way to littleoaktree, I wouldn't want to live in a house where the trainline is higher than than the garden/house. We did see one like that when we were looking for houses and it was a no-no partly because of that.

EBearhug Sun 06-Oct-13 23:15:48

My garden backs onto a railway, but it's down in a cutting. I do hear it, but I have to be listening to really notice it - people in the next door gardens (or the yappy dog two doors down) are more intrusive.

My bathroom is on the ground floor, and I can feel it when a freight train's going through if I'm in the bath at the time.

So if it's in a cutting, it'll certainly be fine, I reckon.

MooncupGoddess Sun 06-Oct-13 23:18:41

I'd have mixed feelings about living next to a main line, but London Overground (don't think the term Silverlink is used any more?) trains are pretty short and quiet, they glide by rather than roaring.

If the garden's long then being north facing may be less of an issue too?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 06-Oct-13 23:29:02

I would definitely buy a house with a railway line at the bottom of the garden - I love trains (especially steam trains) and after a while you don't even notice them unless you choose to... it's a comforting sound I think!

Just make sure you don't pay over the odds for the house - you'll want to be able to keep the price reasonable if you need to sell it.

Lucky you!

Xmasbaby11 Sun 06-Oct-13 23:32:56

It would put me off. Definitely.

ThePuffyShirt Sun 06-Oct-13 23:35:31

Gosh, no way!

I have 2 friends that live near railway lines. One has one at the bottom of her largish garden - so about 150ft away and the other really lives next door to the track.

I find both of their gardens horrendously noisy and I would hate to be that close.

I am going against the grain here, I see!

Never again, my first house was about 50 yds from one and after a few years there was a proposal to upgrade the line from a quiet commuter line to a major freight/express line (it was the predecessor to H2S). For about two years (till the scheme got thrown out) it would have been impossible to sell, luckily I didn't need to move in that period, but it was a tiny starter home and the though of being trapped in an unsaleable house was a nightmare. Obviously not so much of a problem in a forever house. The noise and vibration was annoying too, kept missing bits on the telly, not so bad now with Sky+

Having said that we now live with a view (about 150 yards away) of a steam railway and that is worth the noise and vibration.

BackforGood Sun 06-Oct-13 23:53:26

I would - well did. We've been here 10 years now and are very happy.
I guess the line (combined with busy road at the front) would have put some people off, and the house was priced accordingly, so we were able to buy a much bigger house than we would have, had this house been in a different location. The plus points of all that extra space FAR outweighed any worried about resale at some long distance point in the future (when presumably there will be other families like us, appreciate the space and convenience of the location anyway?) .
You genuinely don't notice the trains once you've lived there a couple of weeks.

Herhonesty Mon 07-Oct-13 08:39:00


GrendelsMum Mon 07-Oct-13 17:23:36

I'm agreeing with everyone else. It's very odd, but somehow you genuinely do tune the trains out after a while.

I used to wake up in the night, feel the house vibrating, think '2am freight train' and go back to sleep knowing all was well with the world.

dueanamechange Mon 07-Oct-13 17:52:33
treacletart Mon 07-Oct-13 18:00:50

We did.
If the trains weren't there, we would never have been able to afford our house so I feel very grateful to them.
Stopped really noticing the noise after about 48 hours and genuinely find the rumble comforting now.
My kids love the trains and get super excited when the vintage ones pass a couple of times a year.
We had plans to line up at the same time every morning and slowly wave creepily to the commuters but we've never actioned them properly
We also have a station 2 mins from our front door and consider it our own personal stop. Lovely getting off a commuter train and waving at my DH in the kitchen.
Do it, do it, do it!

Blu Mon 07-Oct-13 18:04:49

I have loved on a railway line twice - once renting and then bought. From renting I knew I would become accustomed to the train noise and it wouldn't disturb me at night.

And when I bought it was the only reason I could afford my fab little house in a convenient location!

dingit Mon 07-Oct-13 18:09:39

Dueanamechange, that property is shock, £350,000 for a mouldy 2 bed? And I live in the se where property prices are scary.

Disagree totally about tuning the trains out, I never did and they were a constant irritation, including the 2am freight train.

Preciousbane Mon 07-Oct-13 18:25:30

I know The station at Beauliea it is in the middle of the New Forest and property is horrendously expensive there.

I think this totally depends on the sort of person you are and what your used to.
I would hate it with a passion.
im a country girl born and bred and only like load noises that I can escape from(at parties etc.)
although I could put up with this occasionally you would have this all day everyday with no control over it.
sometimes the only noise I want to hear when im in the garden is birds singing and buzzing bees.

cordiality Tue 08-Oct-13 09:40:27

Haha dueanamechange! That's the house!!!! You really can barely see the trains, and it's so nice and convenient for the platform!

Floggingmolly Tue 08-Oct-13 12:19:56

Surely the windows look out onto the platform (giving bored commuters the chance to look in?). If the windows were on the other side of the house I'd be ok with it, but that one looks a little too public for my liking. Plus it's over priced for it's condition.

TooMuchRain Tue 08-Oct-13 13:56:09

I would really like it, so much better than being overlooked by another row of houses and they are fun to watch

I grew up in a house v. close to a railway line and you really do learn to tune it out. It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me unless the line was accessible by the DC.

My uni flat was on top of a metro line in Newcastle. That I never got used to!

BraveMerida Tue 08-Oct-13 14:05:23

No. I stayed at a friend's house which is near a train station, it's not just the noise, I could feel the whole house shaking whenever a train went past which was most noticeable when I was lying in bed.

PiratePanda Tue 08-Oct-13 14:05:49

We live within spitting distance of a railway line - parallel rather than backing onto, but close enough. Because it's really close to a station, all the trains have to slow right down, and honestly you can't hear a thing (we do have double glazing). The only thing we hear is the freight train that goes past at 11:30PM every night and I rather like it.

If you like the house, and it's not beside a high speed line, go for it.

PoshPenny Tue 08-Oct-13 14:12:22

yes, had a flat right by clapham jct and before that my parents house backed onto a railway line. you can be pretty certain it will stay a railway rather than turning into a shopping centre industrial estate or housing estate which might be problematic.

CoolStoryBro Tue 08-Oct-13 14:14:20

We bought a house with a huge garden backing onto a railway line. I loved that house. When the children were tiny, it was weirdly comforting knowing there was a whole world going on outside of my little cocoon.

Downside was nighttime work which was horribly noisy but thankfully rare. And the first night you'll wake up feeling like the house is going to collapse!!

As for resale, we sold ours in 3 days so no problems there.

CoolStoryBro Tue 08-Oct-13 14:15:16

I'm all nostalgic now remembering the kids chasing the trains down the garden, waving at the passengers. Sniiiifff!!

OpenMindedSceptic Tue 08-Oct-13 14:17:15

We lived about 50m away from a railway bridge. The trains kept us awake for the first week or so and then we stopped noticing them. I actually missed the trains when we moved out
So it would not stop me if i liked the house. I suggest you go for another viewing, perhaps during tHe peak hour. Full structual survey is a must though.

umiaisha Wed 09-Oct-13 13:57:26

Our house backs on to the central line. You do get used to the noise very quickly, just becomes background noise after a while. It was a bit more intrusive before we had double glazing though.

Kids love it, DD could spend hours people watching out of her bedroom window!

minihahawithafringe Wed 09-Oct-13 14:03:26

I have wonderful childhood memories of being awake alone in the dark in the middle of the night, and afraid.

Until I heard the trains rattle past and then I knew I couldn't be the only person alive, because there was a train driver and people on the train.

I love that clickety clack in the middle of the night noise.

I miss that sound

umiaisha Wed 09-Oct-13 14:18:02

Mini - me too! My parents house backed on to the Central Line as well. The sound is strangely hypnotic and most Sundays some form of steam engine used the line which was v exciting.

fossil971 Thu 10-Oct-13 12:56:16

You really do stop noticing them. We used to have a first floor flat with a small garden backing onto a railway - the trains were right up at our window level. The only thing was occasionally at night the ballast-tamping crew would come through, maybe twice a year.

Let's face it thousands of Londoners live next to the railway. It's nicer than being overlooked by a block of flats or a busy road. And I think you could say the same to any future buyers.

houseisfallingdown Thu 10-Oct-13 13:01:41

Used to live in SW London and the were lots of 'desirable' roads that had gardens backing onto the railway line. Tended to have larger than average gardens and sold v quickly and easily. Think it totally depends on the area, the housing stock etc. Plane noise was more of a problem there so people didn't seem to be bothered by trains.

carlajean Thu 10-Oct-13 13:49:31

We did, and, as others have said, ceased to notice it after a while, and in fact quite liked it.

impecuniousmarmoset Thu 10-Oct-13 18:08:20

Yes, larger gardens is good point. Ours is huge. But only half as huge as it should be, as the sods who sold us the house kept half the garden to build on. So we might not be backing onto the railway for much longersad I love the view over open sky the the railway gives us and compared to a block of flats, there's no question which I prefer!

newgirl Thu 10-Oct-13 18:18:13

I really wouldn't as it would restrict my enjoyment of the garden - I used to live by a road and that affected my sleep even with double glazing

impecuniousmarmoset Thu 10-Oct-13 19:58:13

Ah I'd never choose to live by a busy road, not in a million years - railway noise is a quite different beast!

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 10-Oct-13 20:08:27

Railway noise is very very different to road noise. I only noticed the trains the first night we spent in our railway cottage, then never did again.

On re-sale, you just have to accept that there will be a smaller pool of interested viewers and the price will be lower than other similar sized houses in the area. But as long as you are similarly benefitting from lower prices, that shouldn't be a huge problem

ShatnersBassoon Thu 10-Oct-13 20:14:14

I used to live in a house with a railway at the end of the very small garden. It didn't bother me at all, not a tiny bit. The station was at the end of the street so only slow trains went past, so no sudden booming noises or shelf-rattlers.

Preciousbane Thu 10-Oct-13 20:19:39

I'm looking at a house next to a railway line tomorrow, it is a really good buy.It is parallel to the house and large trees screen the line.

Other house similar to it in our area are usually about 200k, this is on for 180K and is vacant possession.

plecofjustice Fri 11-Oct-13 11:43:12

A friend of mine did and had an awful rat problem. Apparently the railways are bad for it, as there's so many quiet places for rats to nest.

Earthworms Fri 11-Oct-13 11:55:17

I did.

I love it. I am near a small station and get announcements too.

You tune it out, and it is nowhere near as irritating as next doors bloody dog, or shouty man down the street. For me it acts as an audio clock. I know I need to be up when the first passenger train of the day goes through, I can time lunch and dinner by the trains.

I love watching the trains. Dd loves to watch the too. Night works can be an issue, but they are funto watch, and they always let us know in advance. The poster who said about the shouting. Id complain, if that happened. Network Rail are vv strict about conduct of their contractors.

As for rats, yes can be a broblem, but we just call Network Rail customer service and they send someone to deal with it FOC.

In Short yes. No issue, it actually adds value for us.in terms of entertainment value and proximity to transport.

We live in a house backing onto the Victoria - London Bridge line in S London. No regrets! The garden is tiny, but we're near the common. Also, trains don't go that fast near us and we have sidings next to the houses. They look hideous, but to be honest I don't really see them anymore. We couldn't have afforded the house without the train line...and an added bonus is that it would be almost impossible for anyone to break in from the back of the house. We hear very little noise. And the boys' room looks out over the lines - an added bonus for them!

Preciousbane Fri 11-Oct-13 20:28:39

The trees didn't screen the garden at all, only the front and the side. The elevation of the line meant you were very on view and as I'm not keen on net curtains it was a no. Quite a nice house though.

cordiality Mon 16-Dec-13 13:12:14

I thought I'd update this... we've bought the house! Exchanged last week. Am stocking up on trainspotting books and earmuffs for christmas presents, and selling my best china.

MinimalistMommi Mon 16-Dec-13 17:43:02

Let us know how you get on?
Are you excited?

Busyoldfool Mon 16-Dec-13 21:55:21

Congratulations! ( From a fellow railway person) Trains at the bottom of my garden make it feel like home. Enjoy it!!

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