09/11/2013

Des(irable) Res(idence) a bit noisy!

A newly renovated house belonging to the CFF is for rent, but is finding no takers because it is in a noisy environment.


The house is on the railway line from Geneva to Bellegarde. Like many buildings on railway lines which were once occupied by station masters, it is no longer inhabited. Swiss railways has therefore decided to renovate them and offer them for rent.

This particular one is the old Vernier-Meyrin cargo station, constructed when the railway line from Geneva to Lyon was built. It is empty because the railways are now controlled remotely, so there is no need for a station master to open and close the barriers on the road.

It appears to be offered as an apartment of 100 square metres and 5.5 rooms. I always smile at the idea of half a room, which reminds me of the old riddle of what can you not cut in half and remove one half: a hole! Anyway, this is on offer for a mere 2,200 Swiss francs per month, all charges included.

So, given that Geneva has always been short of apartments, why is this one still on the market? There appear to be five reasons :-

PICT0008.JPG1. It is in the middle of an industrial estate.

2. 160 trains per day pass just outside the windows.

3. It is right underneath the axis of the airport runway, with around 250 overflights per day.

4. No trains stop there any longer.

5. The proposed rent is higher than normal in the commune of Meyrin.

According to the spokesman of the railways, the lack of interest is primarily due to the noise from the airport (takeoffs, landings and ground noise from aircraft at the near end of the runway are factors). Since the building is right in the middle of the airport noise alarm zone, in which construction of houses is simply no longer possible, this might well be true. If this is true, and given that the building was constructed well before the airport noise started to be foreseeable, then Swiss Railways ought perhaps to try demanding compensation for the loss of value.

Alternatively, perhaps there are some deaf people who would like to live in a house with a nice view of trains and planes!

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