Home Buying in Oakland>Question Details

Patricia Leg…, Home Buyer in Tucson, AZ

How noisy are the BART trains?

Asked by Patricia Legatto, Tucson, AZ Wed Jan 11, 2012

I'm looking at homes in Oakland, but I notice that some of the ones I like are close to BART lines. How noisy are they? What's a good distance to live away from the BART line?

Help the community by answering this question:


Even living in Upper Rockridge you can hear BART but you know what you hear even louder? The Amtrak trains at night....odd as it seems, but sounds really travels. If you are sensitive to noise, and are buying a home, I would make sure to go to the house at night and make sure it still fits your needs.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 5, 2012
They can be heard and it can be loud! Double pane windows can help but it truly depends on your sensitivity to sound. Perhaps try sitting in the place for a bit to see how you feel about the sound. But as the other have said, it may be a sound that you get use to over time. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
There is no study I am aware of that answers this question. But an obvious way to find out is to sit in your car near a bart station and determine when a train goes by if it is noisy or loud for you. If it is to loud then park your car further away until you find a spot that is just right. Thats where you want to live. A house with duel pane windows will make the train seem less of a noise factor when you are in the house, but when you go outside there is no protection from the noise, so you are better in your car for this experiment. Good luck and sharing your results would help everyone that have similar issues with Bart trains.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
Yes the BART trains are noisy due to the speed and the cast iron wheels they use
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
I can hear the BART from my house 20 blocks away. It's not nuisance level but if I listen I can hear it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 22, 2012
It definitely depends on your personal threshhold for noise. Many people do say that they don't notice BART noise after a while, and most homes that are anywhere near BART are affected, even if you can't see the tracks. Sometimes homes farther away are as affected as the ones near the tracks...it has alot to do with how the sound travels or is held. I notice BART noise much more on foggy days, for instance, and in hillside homes where the noise travels and is held by the hillside. These are often distant noises. Also, the tracks get "dirty" and BART periodicly does something to clean or sharpen or polish them and the tone of the tracks change. The higher the pitch, the more piercing.

I suggest you talk to some of the neighbors near the homes you like, and also make a point to go down during rush hour and spend time, in your car, walking the neighborhood, or even in the backyard of a home you are considering. Hang out inside for a while when the trains are frequent, and see how affected you are. You must make your peace with this before you buy, because you can't change this fact after. i would say you should also factor how long you plan to stay in the home.

Dual pane windows do seem to do a good job of blocking the sound inside a home, so check this out when you see the property. If the windows are not dual pane, you probably want to get an estimate for the future.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 20, 2012
home sound proof is the home????????????????
Web Reference: http://sellandfindhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 19, 2012
Living near BART has its obvious benefits, like walk-ability and quick and easy commuting if you dont want to always rely on your car! As far as noise is concerned I think it is all relative. I lived in apartments near BART before I owned and it kinda of becomes like white noise after a while, you get totally normalized to the sounds. And ultimately BART only runs until midnight and then starts up again at around 6am so its not like you hear it all through the night.

As it turns out when I purchased a home it was not only near a BART station but also right next to the freeway. Talk about a double whammy on the noise factor! However, after installing dual pane windows, the noise was drastically decreased and I found that I almost missed the constant hum of the freeway and occasional BART train! So, in the end, everything is relative. If you love the house and its in your price range, I wouldn't let a little public transit noise scare you away. Unless you are a really light sleeper, you should be ok.

Best of luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 12, 2012

It’s hard to find a home in Oakland that isn’t close to something that would be considered less than optimal – there are numerous power lines, schools, fire stations, hospitals, railroad tracks, busy roads, freeways, expressways, the airport, two stadiums, the port …

Having said that, keep in mind that all of the homes surrounding all of these issues are occupied.

Speaking specifically of BART, there are thousands of homes in the Bay Area as a whole across from, beside or backing up to railroad tracks, BART, CalTrain or something similar. Including some VERY expensive homes. They are all occupied – mostly by very happy homeowners who don’t notice the trains after the second week or so.

Having said that, some people tell me right up front that they don’t want me to show them a house near railroad tracks. Or the freeway. Or near high tension wires. Or on a busy street. Or with a pool. You get the idea.

Resale IS affected in the eyes of some, but not all. And I’ve even had some families tell me that their kids LOVED watching the trains go by from their bedroom window.

The general rule of thumb is this:

You pay less for these homes when you buy and you get less when you sell, so it is generally a wash. In fact, you can often get a larger and nicer home for less if you are willing to put up with the issue at hand. And if the market is on fire when you sell (such as 2005), and inventory is scarce, your home could conceivably be in the middle of the MacArthur Maze and still sell for top dollar. Inversely, if the market is dead and there is tons of inventory, homes near “distractions” will be harder to sell than those on a quiet cul-de-sac.

As mentioned below, there is also a difference between living by straight tracks, elevated tracks, curved tracks or near stations where the trains blow their horns. Same thing applies to Amtrak and other trains – it’s one thing to have a train rumble by; it’s another to hear the blast when it approaches a crossing.

And speaking of noise and neighborhood nuisances … I live in a nice neighborhood by a quiet, serene lake where the ambient noise of lake birds serenades us all day long … but a grunge band just moved into a garage across the street … and when they fire up and start practicing …

I’d rather live by railroad tracks any day.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 12, 2012
A friend of mine bought a house in Albany near the Bart track, and immediately thought -- what have I done, it's loud! But then, she got used to the sound, and barely heard it. So, it all depends on what works for you. I think the Bart curves are the loudest. I've also heard maintenance work can be heard on occasion when Bart is out of service. Bart can be heard even a mile away. Best to go to different neighborhoods to see for yourself what you are comfortable with. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.tracymcbride.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
I'd advise you to look at least 1 block away - and 2 o4 3 would be better. If you are asking about noise, you would probably find that living on the same block is something you would not get used to. In general, if you are close enough to see the train, you are close enough to hear it. Another thing to realize is that there are freeways that run through Oakland. In many neighborhood you will hear a constant low hum of traffic.
Web Reference: http://www.lindaelkin.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
Hi Patricia,

I live two blocks away from the BART tracks in Albany and just had a train come by as I was writing this post. With the window closed I could barely hear it, with the window open I could see how it would bother some. While the trains aren't quiet, as John stated, you get used to the noise and often don't notice.

A friend of mine used to live directly under the track and while visiting I often forgot that this was the case. It depends on how sensitive you are to the noise.

The article referenced below mentions noise levels in decibels while riding the train, however, it may help you get closer to the answer you're looking for.

I hope this helps and feel free to contact me should you have any other questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
Noise travels and bart can sometimes be heard even from Berkeley Hills. Double pane windows help. I live a block away from the bart line and typically like to keep my skylights open, so I hear them, though it's just background noise for me. In fact, I don't really "hear" them though I once had a friend visiting from LA who asked what that noise was. All of a sudden, I realized she was referring to Bart. If you lived here, I believe you'll get used to it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
Hi Patricia,
From my experience, I used to live close a to the bart and at first it was noisy but a few months after I stopped hearing the noise I guess you get used to it. When I show properties to buyers and they see that the property is close to the bart a lot of times they want to keep looking. Having the bart to close can affect the value of the property in my opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
If you don't want to hear anything... Several blocks.

Curves in the tracks can make more noise than straight runs.

With the windows open in a warm, still night sound travels much farther. (We don't generally have AC here)

Homestly, you get used to it. The worst part is being too near a station due to the train horn, parking and traffic
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 11, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer