HS2 viaduct - will we hear it?

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Sonny71

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Hi, I have just joined this forum as I thought you may be able to help me as experts. I hope thats okay. We are planning on buying a house around 700 metres away from the HS2. I know if the track is in a tunnel, cuttings or a viaduct etc it can affect the noise. Do you think we will hear it from that distance please? I'm nervous to buy the house if it's going to cause a lot of disruption and noise. Am I worrying too much about it? Many thanks for your help
 
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D365

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I live 700 metres away from a 50mph dual carriageway and can hear it 24/7. Compared to that, a railway will be whisper quiet.
 

Chris 76

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Hi welcome. I don't have any expert knowledge on the subject, but it all depends exactly where this house is in relation to HS2 and the HS2 infrastructure in the locality. HS2 will generally be in cuttings or tunnel, with some sections on embankments or viaducts. There will be no local noise where it's in tunnel, and very limited from cuttings. Noise will obviously travel further from embankments and viaducts, but not as far as 700m (though wind direction etc will affect that).
You could visit HS1 in Kent to see how that affects noise levels in the areas it runs through.
 

themiller

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Sound isn't an easy thing to forecast. It depends upon many variables such as distance, terrain, wind. It also changes with the weather, cloud cover, background noise. I used to live about 3 miles from a gun range where military guns were test fired and some days I couldn’t hear the explosions but they were audible 10 miles further along the coast.
 

The Planner

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Hi, I have just joined this forum as I thought you may be able to help me as experts. I hope thats okay. We are planning on buying a house around 700 metres away from the HS2. I know if the track is in a tunnel, cuttings or a viaduct etc it can affect the noise. Do you think we will hear it from that distance please? I'm nervous to buy the house if it's going to cause a lot of disruption and noise. Am I worrying too much about it? Many thanks for your help
Where is the general area you are buying the house?
 

stuu

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At a guess you will probably hear something outdoors, but unlikely to be anything particularly disruptive. Perhaps go somewhere a similar distance from the East Coast main line and see how noisy trains are?
 

eMeS

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Sound intensity depends a lot on the prevailing wind. I live a few km west from the M1 and a similar distance east from the WCML. Very occasionally, I'll hear sound from the M1; more frequently train horns from the WCML.
 

deltic

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If the scheme goes ahead it is likely to be 10 years before any construction works start and getting on for 20 years before trains start operating. The construction works are likely to be far more disruptive than the trains themselves where considerable noise mitigation will be put in place including sound barriers.

While it is not in your area, HS2 Environmental Statement for the London-Birmingham section explains the noise impacts from construction and operation including maps showing how far from the line noise impacts are expected to be experienced. This will give you an idea of the potential impacts.

 

LNW-GW Joint

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What will the sound barriers will be like on HS2?
They are usually installed in urban areas where the railway is on the level or on an embankment.
From a passenger's point of view the German equivalent blots out the view, and reflects the sound back onto the train.
It's a relief when you emerge from a barriered zone and get the view back for a bit.
I quite understand the concern about noise pollution from the residents' point of view, but I have a concern that the HS2 passenger experience, if you add the length of tunnels, cuttings and sound barriers together, will not leave much countryside to view on the journey.
Even so, for residents in the open I can't see it being anything like as bad as being within 700m of the thundering 24x7 M40/M6.

Maybe more importantly, for DN5 (Doncaster), the HS2b route is not settled and it may be a decade before it is (in terms of a parliamentary process).
 

deltic

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What will the sound barriers will be like on HS2?
They are usually installed in urban areas where the railway is on the level or on an embankment.
From a passenger's point of view the German equivalent blots out the view, and reflects the sound back onto the train.
It's a relief when you emerge from a barriered zone and get the view back for a bit.
I quite understand the concern about noise pollution from the residents' point of view, but I have a concern that the HS2 passenger experience, if you add the length of tunnels, cuttings and sound barriers together, will not leave much countryside to view on the journey.
Even so, for residents in the open I can't see it being anything like as bad as being within 700m of the thundering 24x7 M40/M6.

Maybe more importantly, for DN5 (Doncaster), the HS2b route is not settled and it may be a decade before it is (in terms of a parliamentary process).


These are the standard designs - except for parts of the route that are running through very rural areas I am not sure you are going to see much looking out of the window

1621681898634.png
 

Skie

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I’m about 400m away from a Merseyrail line. The track is on an embankment, I’m on the top of a hill and there is a valley in between so very little tree cover. Unless the wind is in a certain direction you barely hear trains, and even when you do hear them it’s usually just the noises from acceleration/deceleration of 40 year old traction motors.

The more modern 777s are significantly quieter for both running noise and acceleration/deceleration. I can’t imagine something 700m away will bother you.
 

Jurg

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Years ago I lived about 50m away from the WCML, at a location where it is in cutting, in a rented house. The first night I got woken up several times by the whole house shaking as a high speed train passed, and thought to myself "what have I got into?". By the end of the first week, I barely noticed it anymore.

My last house, the first house I bought, was located about 700m from the M6 motorway on embankment. There was noise constantly from the collective friction of tyres on the road surface 24/7 except for a lull overnight on Christmas Eve & Easter Sunday, though the volume of noise varied massively depending on wind direction, traffic volume etc. I lived there nearly 10 years, and never got used to the noise to the extent that I could sleep soundly with the window open.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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If trains start running in 20 years, your concern may be when selling the house, whether people might want to buy it.

What about noise of construction going on for years? If the house is near a station, junction, tunnel, bridge that might be louder.

House might be worth more eventually if it is near a hs station.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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One thing we don't know yet is the sound envelope of the trains, still to be procured.
Electric motors and bogies have improved over time and may not be as loud as past designs.
The trains will also all be passing quickly at the same high speed, and there won't be any freight.
There will be overnight maintenance with specialist vehicles.
Train horns won't be used much as there will be fewer reasons to use them (no crossings, platforms or sharp curves).
You are left with the inescapable "wheel on rail" friction noise of multiple wheelsets at high speed, plus any wind noise generated by the train.
Gradients will also have some effect.
The Eurostar (Siemens) 374s on HS1 in Kent are the best live comparison we can make at the moment, but once the HS2 train design/manufacturer is chosen we should be able to find a closer example somewhere on the continent.
 
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unslet

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I wouldn't worry too much. Trains,by their nature,only take a few seconds to pass,then nothing until the next one. 700m is a fair old distance away.

I live 200m from a 12 lane motorway junction built on an embankment.
It can be very noisy,but you learn to ignore it.
 

chorleyjeff

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Sound isn't an easy thing to forecast. It depends upon many variables such as distance, terrain, wind. It also changes with the weather, cloud cover, background noise. I used to live about 3 miles from a gun range where military guns were test fired and some days I couldn’t hear the explosions but they were audible 10 miles further along the coast.
I lived about half a mile from the WCML at Euxton and could clearly hear trains but they were not very intrusive and there weren't many fast trains ( early 1970s). I should think the higher speeds and much greater number of trains would be very noticeable at first. But it seems people seem to get used to noise pollution around motorways and airports quickly so I guess the same will apply to trains.
 

Purple Orange

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I used to live in the shadows of the Styal line (on an embankment and our street went under it) and I could hear and feel the trains as they went by. However I quickly started to filter out the trains and it got to the point that only visitors could notice them.

When I lived in London, my flat was a similar distance from a line on am embankment (about 100m distance) and the 8 car electric trains running in to Victoria were not very intrusive.

I’d be comfortable buying a home 700m from a HS2 railway line.
 

Sonny71

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I’m about 400m away from a Merseyrail line. The track is on an embankment, I’m on the top of a hill and there is a valley in between so very little tree cover. Unless the wind is in a certain direction you barely hear trains, and even when you do hear them it’s usually just the noises from acceleration/deceleration of 40 year old traction motors.

The more modern 777s are significantly quieter for both running noise and acceleration/deceleration. I can’t imagine something 700m away will bother you.
I've had a reply back from HS2 help desk and they have told me the actual distance is approximately 1 kilometers from the centre of the planned line of route so it is a little further than I first thought.

If the line that runs past was in a cutting I would feel better about it all, it's just with it being a viaduct and embankment and the number of trains being around 18 per hour which I am concerned about as the village is semi rural and not a lot of noise around apart from birds singing which is one of the reasons we are wanting to move there.
 
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DelW

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Personally I wouldn't worry about a line a kilometre away (if indeed it's ever built...).

My house is on a hill between a main line electrified railway 500m away on one side, and a very busy dual carriageway trunk road 1350m away on the other side. Depending on weather conditions, I can reasonably often hear one or the other from the garden, but not from inside the house, and even in the garden, they're mild background noises, not enough to be intrusive.

Much more intrusive is noise from low flying light aircraft, helicopters, chainsaws, mowers, strimmers, (and children ;)), and you're likely to get them anywhere.
 

jamesst

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I live less than 700metres away from both a frequent rail line and a busy motorway. By far the noisiest of the two is the motorway.
 

Bald Rick

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I live less than half a mile from a high speed railway (albeit not HS2 speed). I can hear the diesel trains (just), but not the electrics, but only in light winds of if the wind is blowing from the railway to me. Compared to the cars on the (very lightly used) road outside it’s nothing.
 

Master Cutler

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It's not the proximity to the line that causes the most noise but the surrounding land topography and weather conditions.
I live two and a half miles from the Robin Hood line where it crosses Coxmoor Road in Sutton in Ashfield and on some days, due to the atmospheric conditions, can hear it as clear as if I was 100 metres away.
You may find that where you plan to live there is no noise at all but further away there's an abundance.
 

MotCO

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The latest plan for HS2 around the OP's postcode is here: C321-MMD-RT-DPP-130-591602.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Based on this map, the railway seems to be running roughly West - East. If the OP's house is south of this, and if the prevailing wind is westerly, then the sound should be minimal. If the OP's house is north of the line, the curve on the railway may mean that some noise may be heard, but it does depend on whether there are any trees or buildings in the way.

As an aside, I used to live about 3/4 mile south of the SW mainline in an urban setting. On warm summer nights with the windows open, I could hear the railway in the distance, but it was hardly intrusive.
 

D365

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I've had a reply back from HS2 help desk and they have told me the actual distance is approximately 1 kilometers from the centre of the planned line of route so it is a little further than I first thought.

If the line that runs past was in a cutting I would feel better about it all, it's just with it being a viaduct and embankment and the number of trains being around 18 per hour which I am concerned about as the village is semi rural and not a lot of noise around apart from birds singing which is one of the reasons we are wanting to move there.
You're going to be absolutely fine in that case.
 
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There are some good observations above. The idea of noise pollution from railways is much exaggerated. It depends on wind direction, but noise from passing trains shouldn't be to noticeable. Bear in mind the railway will be mostly silent between trains and that trains will pass at around three miles per minute.
Compared to the near continuous noise of an A road, the railway's will be negligible at any distance. Cars are very noisy due to the huge amount of friction between rubber tyres and the road.
 

D365

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Compared to the near continuous noise of an A road, the railway's will be negligible at any distance. Cars are very noisy due to the huge amount of friction between rubber tyres and the road.
Intriguing how most take roads for granted, railways on the other hand seem to be very concerning for some...
 
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