Annoyance caused by railway operations has gained increasing attention in the Netherlands. This has led to a multimillion research project into different aspects of train passages as a source of vibration. The project is initiated by the Dutch railway operator ProRail. In advance of this project a study has been performed on vibration signals at free field caused by cargo train passages at four different sites. The signals have been compared to trackside measurements. The trackside measurements consist of fibre optic measurements of the rail deflection at pre-installed locations different from the free field vibration measurement sites. Different vibration level indicators have been studied like train speed, axle loads and wheel roughness indicators and their correlation with vibration levels. Vibration levels are defined in several ways, a frequency weighted running mean square value (so-called Veffmax), a 2-second RMS level (unweighted) and levels per frequency band. Special attention is given to the variation in time of the measured vibration signals during the train passage to see whether bad quality wheel passages can be identified. The results give valuable input for a future case study in which wheel quality and its influence on vibration levels will be studied further.