In this work, exposure-response relationships for annoyance due to freight and passenger railway vibration exposure in residential environments are developed, so as to better understand the differences in human response to these two sources of environmental vibration. Data for this research come from a field study comprising interviews with respondents and measurements of their vibration exposure (N = 752). A logistic regression model is able to accurately classify 96% of these measured railway vibration signals as freight or passenger based on two signal properties that quantify the duration and low frequency content of each signal. Exposure-response relationships are then determined using ordinal probit modeling with fixed thresholds. The results indicate that people are able to distinguish between freight and passenger railway vibration, and that the annoyance response due to freight railway vibration is significantly higher than that due to passenger railway vibration, even for equal levels of exposure. In terms of a community tolerance level, the population studied is 15 dB (re 10(-6) m s(-2)) more tolerant to passenger railway vibration than freight railway vibration. These results have implications for the expansion of freight traffic on rail, or for policies to promote passenger railway.