Strangely enough, the train tracks are not very near to our house. More than a mile away, I'd guess. But we hear train whistles every day. Or, rather, every night. Several times each night. It's nice. I like the sound of train whistles. They always remind me of Ray Bradbury's book Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I read during one of my earliest visits to Berkeley, long before I thought of moving here. They're also one of the nice memories of when I was a kid.
I grew up right near train tracks. The trains didn't often sound their whistles near us -- unless a kid was out playing on the tracks -- because we weren't near a station. But every time a train went by -- which was a couple times each day -- our entire apartment would shake as if there were an earthquake. The lamp suspended from the ceiling would sway. Mom's collection of little porcelain deer figurines would "walk" on their shelves, sometimes "committing suicide", which usually only resulted in the loss of a tiny porcelain leg. Whenever we'd get an actual earthquake, it would take us a minute or two to recognize it, since we'd at first assume it was a train.
Alan and I walked to school via the train tracks: elementary school, junior high, and high school. I was really good at balancing on the rails. I never did any of the stuff like putting coins on the rails, because I thought that was stupid. Plus, you know, if a train went flying off the rails because of a penny, it would probably kill me. And that would be a really dumb way to die.